Red Bull heir off the hook on speeding charge
- Published: 2/09/2013 at 08:10 PM
- Online news:
Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya, whose Ferrari hit and killed a police officer on a motorcycle last year, has escaped speeding charges after he failed to meet with prosecutors on Monday - but police will now issue a warrant for his arrest on two more serious charges, and ask the court to deny him bail.
Mr Vorayuth’s no-show means he will be acquitted from the speeding charge, one of three brought against him in the high-profile hit-and-run case, because the statute of limitations on the charge expires on Sept 3.
The other two charges relate to reckless driving causing death and failing to stop his vehicle to help his victim, which carry a 10-year statute of limitations.
Mr Vorayuth, grandson of Red Bull energy drink founder Chaleo Yoovidhya, was driving the Ferrari which hit Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert's motorcycle on Sukhumvit Soi 47 at high speed in the early hours of Sept 3 last year. The policeman was killed in the grisly accident that saw him dragged 200 metres along the road.
Mr Vorayuth’s lawyer, Tanit Buakeaw, met lead prosecutor Ruecha Krairiksh at 3pm Monday, and submitted a doctor's certificate explaining that his client was unwell, so unable to attend the hearing. The certificate was reportedly issued by a Singaporean doctor with a MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery).
Red Bull heir Vorayuth Yoovidhya, whose Ferrari hit and killed a police officer on a motorcycle last year, has escaped speeding charges after he failed to meet with prosecutors on Monday. (Bangkok Post file photo)
The 28-year-old suspect was expected to meet Mr Ruecha at 10am on Monday to hear the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court read out an indictment on a charge of traffic offences against him.
Mr Tanit claimed Mr Vorayudh travelled to Singapore last Thursday to run business errands and originally planned to return to Thailand on Sunday to meet with the prosecutors. However, he came down with influenza when he was about to leave Singapore and the doctor instructed him to rest for a few days.
Mr Vorayuth would report to prosecutors after he returns to Thailand, his lawyer said, adding that he had attempted to get the doctor's certificate to prosecutors as early as possible.
“We can’t indict him because the suspect is not present. This means the statute of limitations for speeding will expire because the incident occurred on September 3, 2012,” Mr Ruesha said.
He said the prosecution would instruct police investigators to seek an arrest warrant for Mr Vorayuth on Tuesday and would also ask the court not to grant bail for the suspect because he had failed to show up and postponed appointments with prosecutors several times.
Prosecutors were yet to check if the sickness certificate was authentic and if the heir had really travelled to Singapore, he said.
Mr Ruesha said he would ask Sakesan Bangsomboon, director-general of the Office of Criminal Litigation of Southern Bangkok, to determine when the charges of reckless driving causing death and failing to help his victim would be filed against the Red Bull heir.
Asked if Mr Vorayuth stills wanted to cooperate with authorities on the other two charges, Mr Tanit said: “We intended to cooperate and did not mean to no-show, but [Mr Vorayuth] can’t really come”. He had planned to come back to Thailand on Sunday, his lawyer claimed.
Public prosecutors postponed the indictment of Mr Vorayuth on speeding charges five times prior to his no-show at the indictment on Monday.
The suspect also previously appealed to Attorney-General Chulasingh Vasantasingh against the speeding charge, asking for more time to question four eyewitnesses and consult two accident reconstruction experts.
Forensic police inspect Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert's motorcycle and a Ferrari driven by Vorayuth Yoovidhya, in a recreation of the deadly collision. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
Nongnoot Saengpraphan mourns the death of her husband, Pol Snr Sgt Maj Wichian Klanprasert, at That Thong temple. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
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- Writer: Online Reporters
Position: Online Reporters