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Policeman Pleads NOT GUILTY To Murder Of Canadian Backpacker - Four Years On Policeman Finally Puts In Self Defence Claim

Andrew Drummond, Bangkok, March 8 2012

Police Sergeant Uthai Dechachiwat has pleaded not guilty to the murder of Canadian tourist Leo Del Pinto in the village of Pai, Mae Hong Son, province in January 2008.

At Chiang Mai court this week Sergeant Dechachiwat admitted that he was the same person who had been convicted in another murder case – the murder of Wanta Dechachiwat, his 18-yr-old wife of two weeks, by clubbing her to death with a piece of wood.

He said he was not guilty of murder in the case of backpacker Leo.

The court agreed to a special hearing of the case in Pai in July and three consecutive days in Chiang Mai at the request of the Canadian Embassy. Uthai (below) said that he would be calling police two witnesses among five witnesses in his defence.

Prosecutor Poonbsil Intachai is calling eleven witnesses. Carly Reisig, a fellow Canadian who was shot at the same time but survived has already given evidence at the court in Mae Hong Son. Two Thai witnesses have had police protection, following an investigation by the Thai National Human Rights Committee.

Among the witnesses will two expert witnesses, Ms. Duangjai Jipipob to report on alcohol levels and Police Colonel Boonrak Gowsombat to report on gunpowder residue.

The murder of Leo Del Pinto is controversial not least because of the reported attempts by Thai police to protect their own. The Thai National Human Rights Commission uncovered intimidation of witnesses by the head of police in Pai who were encouraged to support the view that Sergeant Dechachiwat was acting in self defence.

Forensic reports however showed that Leo was lower than the level of the gun and appeared to be falling down when he was shot.

Leo's friend Carly Reising (left) was also shot in her side, but recovered and has now returned to Canada.

In Calgary, Canada, Leo's father Ernie campaigned for justice for his son, and even the local buses carried poster adverts calling for Thai justice.

Sergeant Uthai is currently serving 25 years.

These are the following dates scheduled for the court hearing: Pai, July 23rd. Chiang Mai: October 24, 25, 26th.

http://www.andrew-drummond.com/view-story.php?sid=519

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The murder of Leo Del Pinto is controversial not least because of the reported attempts by Thai police to protect their own. The Thai National Human Rights Commission uncovered intimidation of witnesses by the head of police in Pai who were encouraged to support the view that Sergeant Dechachiwat was acting in self defence.

 

Needs to be pursued aggressively and prosecuted. Just as bad as murder and the result: 18 year old woman clubbed to death by the same prick (and who knows what else he's done if capable of this) when it obviously could've been prevented. Tragic on many levels.

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Needs to be pursued aggressively and prosecuted. Just as bad as murder and the result: 18 year old woman clubbed to death by the same prick (and who knows what else he's done if capable of this) when it obviously could've been prevented. Tragic on many levels.

 

i know thit court case is on-going and he will be returning to prison afterwards for his earlier crime.

but i was shaking my head in the original story,he was charged with murder and then bailed.... :blink:

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BTW - what I meant before when I said they should prosecute aggressively - I meant they should go after the chief of police in Pai. Yes, police corruption in LoS seems to be - to some extent - acceptable (by the public), even expected. And there's probably zero places in the world totally free of it, but you need a draw a line somewhere.

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There is still a lingering feeling from the past that some people are "above the law". If you are rich and powerful, you are different. You even see this in the red shirts who defend Thaksin, saying he was wrongfully convicted and should not have to go to jail. After all, he is a PHU YAI. He can use his influence to rig sales etc. You can see this in action every time you watch Thais greet one another. The junior WAI's the superior first and much more respectfully.

 

In this murder case, the killer obviously had a higher status than the victim. That makes things different.

 

Or remember the incident last year where a rich brat speeding in daddy's Porsche ran over a young Lao girl, cutting her body in half and fleeing in panic with the top half of her torso in the front seat! Has anyone yet heard of it going to trial? He paid her family a financial compensation of only a small fraction of that the family of red shirt protesters who were killed are receiving from the government. (The red shirts were Takky's people. The Lao girl was a nobody, even if she was cute.)

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