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Forest encroachment case delayed until accused’s death confirmed


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Forest encroachment case delayed until accused’s death confirmed



Den Khamlae


BANGKOK: -- A SUPREME COURT verdict in a 2011 forest encroachment case has been delayed until there is confirmation that one of the two charged people involved in the case is dead.


Phu Khiao Provincial Court yesterday announced that the verdict in the case of Den Khamlae and Supap Khamlae, who allegedly encroached on the Phusam Phaknam National Preserved Forest, would be postponed until July 27 on the request of the defendants’ lawyer.


The lawyer told the court that Den had been missing since April last year and the forensic examination to prove his death was not complete.


Thanomsak Rawadchai, the defendant’s lawyer, said the court agreed to delay the verdict for the fourth time, as Den was not present in court. He said 14 pieces of evidence were recently found in the forest which may belong to Den and may confirm his death.


As the forensic investigation was still not complete, the court allowed more time to prove that Den was dead before the court reads the final verdict next month. The court also issued an order to police and forensic officers to rush the examination.


On May 9, the court issued an arrest warrant for Den, as he did not appear in court and was considered a runaway suspect.


“We believe that the Supreme Court judgement in this case will be similar to other forest encroachment cases in the same area, with a suspended sentence,” Thanomsak said.


“However, the arrest warrant for Den is still active and the guarantor was fined because of his absence, so Den’s family may be charged by the guarantor for the fine.”


Den, Supap, and three other persons have been sued by authorities since July 2011, for forest encroachment on a national preserved forest. They were all sentenced by six months in jail. 


Later, the Appeal Court dismissed the allegations against three other people, although the sentence on Den and Supap was left unchanged.


On April 16, 2016, Den went missing in the forest near his home and has not been seen since. Only some items and a human skull were discovered in the forest, which have still not been confirmed as Den’s remains.


Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/national/30318194

-- © Copyright The Nation 2017-06-16
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