BANGKOK – Thailand’s appeals court has upheld a lower court’s verdict for the extradition to Australia of a 31-year-old Thai man implicated in the 2009 death of Victorian “good Samaritan” Luke Mitchell.
Sarud Seehaverachart had appealed against a criminal court’s verdict in November 2011 for him and co-accused, Thatiya Terdputham, to face trial in Australia for Mr Mitchell’s bashing and murder in May 2009.
Mr Mitchell, a chef from Sanctuary Lakes, died after intervening in a fight in Sydney Road, Brunswick, in May 2009 when he was stabbed.
Terdputham and Seehaverachart, who were students in Australia at the time of the death, moved to Thailand not long after the stabbing and pleaded not guilty to murder, saying they fought in self-defence.
They also said a third man was involved and responsible for the stabbing of Mitchell.
Terdputham withdrew his appeal earlier this year against extradition, but Seehaverachart had requested to be tried in Thailand.
The men’s lawyers opposed extradition, claiming they would not receive a fair trial in Australia.
But appeals court judges in their judgment said the men were expected to “receive justice and the same treatment as other suspects in Australia”.
The judges also based their decision on Australia no longer having the death penalty.
Australia does not have an extradition treaty with Thailand, but the judges had made their ruling based on treaties with Britain and the fact Australia is part of the Commonwealth.
At an earlier hearing Sarud’s mother, Cholika Nonnithikul, had said her son was innocent and “was not the one who committed the crime and had no intention to (kill Mitchell)”.
Seehaverachart has expressed remorse over Mitchell’s death.
“We are very sorry for Luke as well. We didn’t know it was going to happen (that way),” he told an earlier court hearing.
No date for Seehaverachart’s extradition has been set.