A court in Thonburi has dealt a blow to police esteem, freeing a Nakhon Phanom man accused of theft and criticising investigators for weak evidence and poor handling of witnesses.
Phisit Suwanpim was accused of posing as a buyer for a Bt15.8-million diamond ornament in 2006 and then stealing it from a house in Thonburi’s Bang Waek area.
He was arrested despite having proof he was in Nakhon Phanom at the time of the robbery.
When Phisit’s family complained to the Justice Ministry that he was falsely accused, a further investigation was conducted that uncovered flaws in the police probe.
Its findings were presented to the court in the defendant’s defence.
The court determined that police had ignored the insistence of two witnesses that Phisit was not the man who’d pretended to be the jewellery buyer.
It noted that police had failed to collect DNA evidence from the chair and table where the thief sat while discussing the jewellery’s purchase with the owner. The DNA could have been compared with Phisit’s.
The court acknowledged that the phone number the thief used to set up the meeting was registered in Phisit’s name, but found that police had failed to check whether Phisit registered the number himself or if someone else could have used a photocopy of his ID card to do so.
The lack of strong evidence and the defendant’s alibi left the court no alternative but to release Phisit from detention.
He was scheduled to be freed from Thonburi Prison on Tuesday evening.
Justice Ministry deputy permanent secretary Pol Col Dussadee Arayawut said he hoped the outcome of the case would prompt police to be more careful.
He said he had ordered the Department of Special Investigation probe on receiving the complaint from Phisit’s family and agreed there were several flaws in the original police work.