THE CRIMINAL Court has sentenced the girlfriend of an unethical ex-lawyer to jail for helping him swindle road-accident victims out of more than Bt4 million in compensation.
Pornpawee Chukaew was slapped with a term of three years and four months and also ordered to pay about Bt2.3 million in compensation to victims – Porntip Chantharat and her wheelchair-bound daughter, Pattarada “Beam” Kaewpong.
“The court delivered this verdict on Wednesday. Now, we are waiting to see if the convict will appeal,” the Lawyers Council of Thailand’s spokesman Sombat Wongkamhaeng said yesterday.
An appeal, if any, must be filed within 30 days after the court ruling.
Pornpawee’s boyfriend, Pisit Sammalert, did not appeal when the court handed down a guilty verdict and a six-year jail term last year.
The pair were brought to justice after the council stepped in to help Porntip, who had publicly lamented that Pisit took most of the Bt5 million compensation a private company had offered to her family for the accident. She lost her husband in the incident and she and her daughter were seriously injured. The daughter has been wheelchair-bound since the accident.
Porntip initially let Pisit represent her in dealing with the firm, because she believed his claim that he genuinely wished to help her family.
Later, Pornpawee showed up pretending to be the company’s representative and talked Porntip into accepting just Bt1 million in compensation.
Pornpawee had claimed the company was facing cash-flow problems and got the victim to sign a paper agreeing not to sue the company.
After that, Pisit gave Porntip just Bt285,000 and disappeared.
Pisit pleaded guilty in court last year, and has been disbarred by the Lawyers Council of Thailand.