NAKHON PHANOM – Three more people have been charged in the perjury case involving former teacher Jomsap Saenmuangkhot’s bid for a retrial of her conviction for a fatal hit-and-run, bringing the total number to 14.
Nakhon Phanom police commander Pol Maj Gen Suwicharn Yankittikul recently ordered police handling the case to summons all involved in the hired scapegoat scam to acknowledge charges.
Three men – Prasert Roopsa-ard, Vet Khongkhaew and Vijit Khamluechai, all from Mukdahan province – turned themselves in to Nakhon Phanom police on Friday.
They were charged with providing false information to investigators and giving false testimony in court. After hearing the charges, they were released. Police were considering making them witnesses for the prosecution.
Mr Prasert had earlier confessed being the driver of the pickup truck involved in the fatal 2005 accident for which Jomsap was jailed.
He said he had been approached by Suriya Nualcharoen, a friend of Jomsap, to take the blame before Sak Wapee was hired to claim to be the driver to back Jomsap’s claim of wrongful conviction. Mr Sak later confessed that Mr Suriya had promised to pay him for taking responsibility.
Police earlier charged 11 suspects, including Jomsap, Mr Suriya and Mr Sak, in the hired scapegoat case.
On Jan 11, public prosecutors indicted Mr Sap and his wife Ms Jan for their alleged role in the deceit. The pair were released on bail. Jomsap and Mr Suriya were detained at Nakhon Phanom Central Prison, awaiting trial after the court denied them bail. The others were temporarily freed.
Jomsap was found guilty of reckless driving causing death after a pickup truck the court found she was driving hit a bicycle, killing 75-year-old Lua Pobamrung, in Renu Nakhon district on March 11, 2005.
The ex-teacher had her jail term reduced to 18 months by a royal amnesty two years ago, after the Supreme Court upheld the first court’s sentence of three years and two months in prison in 2013.
Following her release in April 2015, Jomsap took the rare move of pursuing wrongful conviction proceedings through the Justice Ministry.
The Supreme Court recently dismissed the case and questioned the honesty of some witnesses for the plaintiff.
By Pattanapong Sripiachai
The Bangkok Post