The ‘Flying Sporran’ reports on the great judicial roadshow.

Five years after Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva ordered police to clear up the shooting of a retired former U.S. Marine in Hua Hin, the case against the alleged murderer and his ‘commander’ has become bogged down in the slough of the Thai justice system…BUT the circus is on the road.

The concept of ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ has a hollow ring for Donald Whiting, 68,  who is paralysed from the neck down after being gunned down in 2008 outside his home in Hua Hin,

It happened three days before he was due to face his builder Briton Darren Oxley, against whom he had brought court criminal fraud charges.

But I cannot point the finger at Thai justice without pointing out that in Britain, the alleged world’s main habitat of a mysterious creature called ‘Fair Play’, the creator of the Marquis of Queensberry Rules, and inventor of the ‘level playing field’ thingie seem also have gone awry.

Oxley turned up in Thailand and built himself a huge mansion, having successfully run a drugs cartel in Sheffield, Yorkshire for years. Most of his compatriots went down after a trial but Darren Oxley skipped bail and failed to turn up for the verdict and sentencing.

The court issued a warrant for his arrest – but nobody has acted on it. Nobody has sought extradition, and enquiries under the ‘Freedom of Information Act’ are blocked on the basis that there is an on-going investigation.   So much for freedom of information. Everything points to a police ‘deal’.

No witnesses have turned up for the last year for the trial of Janpen, Oxley’s Thai wife, who it is alleged commissioned the hit on the troublesome American for 200,000 Thai baht paid to a relatives of the alleged gunman Yuthana Areesawat, 36, who allegedly distributed shares to his alleged cohorts, Samart Areesawat, 41 and Ek-anand Jitmahima, 50.  All are on trial for murder and conspiracy to murder.

Actually the three men were arrested within days of Abhisit’s order. But since then lawyers, police and court officials appear to have been treading water. The court hearings have been plagued with delays and no shows of witnesses. One one occasion the prison even sent the wrong defendants to court. This does not include Janpen – She got bail.


Police have the bank slip showing a payment to a relative of Yuthana from Janpen, and the relatives allegedly confessed in the early stages, as did Yuthana. But so far they have so far failed to turn up to provide the vital evidence which could send Janpen down.

Hearings have been set up in several different provinces to make it easier for witnesses to attend. It has not worked.

Hua Hin is awash with stories suggesting Darren Oxley has paid out in excess of 60 million baht on this case. Janpen of course has got bail and the feeling is that, if the couple do not run before the verdict (they easily have the wherewithal to do do) Janpen will immediately appeal and seek continuation of bail while the appeal in pending.

As Kamnan Poh has shown on the other side of Thailand, the well-connected can avoid penalties for murder in this country for what seems like almost forever.

Oxleys Mansion in Hua Hin

This is no consolation for Donald Whiting, whose partner Dolly Samson, is the Vice Chancellor of Stamford University in Thailand.

Yuthana – ‘This is how I did it’.

Their cash is running out fast just providing nursing care for Donald. They cannot take a civil case until the criminal one is completed. If the case continues to run at his present rate there is a chance Donald may not be around for the verdict.


The Grand Tour

Where is the case now? Its on tour in five provinces!  Six actually. There has been a hearing in Bangkok too. This from the U.S. Embassy to Donald Whiting

X-Ray shows bullet lodged in Donald’s

“We have gone to great lengths to follow up with the various provincial
courts engaged in your case at this time. 

Again, the best course for
following up with the progress of your case is an attorney licensed to practice
law in Thailand that can provide full information regarding your case. 

For your future reference, we do not have the resources available to continue
responding to inquiries for information that is best obtained and explained by
a legal professional. 

We were able to determine that your case was sent
to the Trang Provincial Court from the Prachuapkirikhan Provincial Court. 

In Trang, proceedings were not concluded because the witness (Nongluck Sompong)
did not appear in court on July 9, 2012. 

From Trang, your case was
forwarded to Chumporn Provincial Court on July 23, 2012 and a hearing is
scheduled for September 17, 2012 at 9:00 a.m.  Apinan Tra-Ngan is
scheduled to appear.  After Chumporn Provincial Court, your case will be
forwarded to Pitsanulok (where Varinthorn Putta is scheduled to appear) and
Petchaburi (where Suay Yampuk is slated to appear) provincial courts, in that
order.  This is the status of your case according to the information
provided by court officials.  Please feel free to verify this information
with your legal representative and obtain further information about the
implications of each court’s actions on the overall legal proceedings

This is the dark side of Thailand. Promises have been made to reform the legal system so trials can start and finish within the same month. Those promises are not being fulfilled.

Footnote: The Whiting case was one of four unsolved crimes that newly appointed Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva ordered the national police chief to solve. 
The other cases include the slaying of four Saudi nationals in 1989 and 1990, the disappearance and suspected murder of human rights lawyer Somchai Neelpaijit in 2004 and the 2003 slaying of Kornthep Viriya, a shipping agent and key witness in a tax evasion case against a company owned by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

None of these cases has been solved either. In the Somchai trial five policemen were acquitted through lack of evidence. Donald Whiting believes that the witnesses in his case have been intimidated.

About the Author

Andrew Drummond

Andrew Drummond is a British independent journalist and occasional television documentary maker. He is a former Fleet Street, London, journalist having worked at the Evening Standard, Daily Mail, Mail on Sunday, News of the World, Observer and The Times.

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