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Pattaya Daily News

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06 June 2009 :: 16:06:38 pm 9094

British Victim Of Vicious Assault Faces Assailant In Pattaya Court

In the early hours of 13th February 2008 Briton Roger Parker (aka “Jakson”) was viciously assaulted by two Thai men in an unprovoked attack, whilst walking back to his hotel from a bar in Soi Buakao in Pattaya (see links below to PDN’s original reports).
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Following the attack Mr. Parker spent nearly 2 weeks in hospital and was told by doctors that he was lucky to be alive. He had received multiple facial fractures and several bone structures, including his nose, had to be rebuilt using plates and screws. Although the physical scars from the attack are healing, the mental scars remain and he still tries to avoid walking alone anywhere at night.

The two assailants were arrested on 19th February 2008 and consequently released on bail pending trial proceedings.

On 5th June 2009 Mr. Parker attended the first hearing of the case at the Pattaya court. Prior to the hearing, Mr. Parker told PDN that he hoped for a fair trial and that his attackers would receive their due punishment. Due to appear at the trial were the doctors who treated Mr. Parker’s injuries and a motorbike taxi driver who claimed to be a witness to the attack.

Only one of the defendants, Mr. Sompong Gijwongwattana (“Berm”), had turned up for the hearing. The second defendant, Mr. Yuttapum Chaiseub, had been arrested on a murder charge that same morning and “Berm’s” lawyer consequently requested a postponement of the hearing. This request was denied.

Then, before entering the courtroom, Mr. Parker was informed that “Berm” had decided to plead guilty and was willing to pay compensation to Mr. Parker, who was then asked how much he was willing to accept.

“I just can’t believe this”, Mr. Parker told our reporter. “I’ve come here to attend what I thought would be the trial of two criminals who nearly killed me, and now it’s turned into a negotiation over money. The prosecution has also informed me that the charges they face are of minor assault, which is based on the report written by the original investigating police officer. Once it has been decided, the severity of the charge is difficult to change. This charge carries a maximum prison sentence of 2- 3 years, which will be reduced by the admission of guilt and the offer of compensation.”

Eventually, the court hearing, in the presence of a judge, began. In attendance were Mr. Parker, his lawyer and translator, two prosecuting officials, a police officer, the defendant and members of his family, and the defendant’s lawyer.

Following the guilty plea, there was no longer a case to be proven, and no witnesses were required. One witness, the motorcycle taxi driver, had turned up earlier carrying a rock which he claimed was used in the attack. When a PDN reporter informed him that the rock supposedly used in the attack was actually part of the evidence, and was in the possession of the police, the taxi driver became evasive and quickly disappeared from the court building.

During the court hearing, there was no reference to the actual crime, and the facts pertaining to the case were never mentioned. The proceedings, which lasted nearly one hour, focused solely on the issue of compensation. At one point the court room resembled a trading market as various sums of money and terms of payment were bandied back and forth as Mr. Parker could only look on in bewilderment at the scene unfolding before him.

“There was no other concern apart from the money”, Mr. Parker told PDN afterwards. “Nobody asked me how I was or if I was still suffering from the effects of the attack. I eventually had to demand, through my interpreter, the chance to have my say. But being totally unprepared, I didn’t manage to say half of what I should have done. It doesn’t matter, because nobody seemed to care anyway.”

The amount and terms of compensation were finally agreed by the court. The judge announced that the sentencing of “Berm” would take place on 31st August.

A visibly shaken and disappointed Mr. Parker told PDN later, “The guilty plea and the lack of a trial means that I will never know what exactly happened that night or why I was so viciously attacked. The truth will never be known. Today, it was all about money.”

When we asked Mr. Parker if he had any advice for foreigners who find themselves in similar circumstances he told us: “Keep out of trouble. Keep away from the Thai legal system. Make sure you have people you can trust to help you. And don’t expect the same from the Thai justice system as you would back home”

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : PDN staff   Category : Crime News

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