The Appeals Court yesterday sentenced a young driver from a wealthy family to two years' suspended jail term for crashing into a group of bus passengers and killing one of them.
The Phra Khanong Provincial Court found that Kanpitak Patchimsawat, 25, had a mental problem that reduced his ability to control himself while under stress. It was found that the victim was killed while the defendant could not control himself.
He was initially sentenced to three years in jail, but the court later reduced the jail term to two years and one month.
The court decided to suspend the penalty for two years and required the defendant to report to probation officials every three months over that period. The defendant also was asked to have his mental problem treated.
Kanpitak, who is also known by his nickname of Moo Ham, made the headlines in 2007 when he was involved in a high-profile case of road accident.
He is son of businessman Kan-anek and former beauty queen Savinee.
Sucheera Insuwan, daughter of the dead victim, said she would consult with lawyer whether to bring the case to the Supreme Court. She said the Appeals Court verdict would serve as an interesting case study.
In the night of July 4, 2007, the Mercedes Benz car driven by Kanpitak was involved in a road accident with a public bus driven by Sataporn Arunsiri.
After the accident, Kanpitak hit the bus driver’s forehead with a stone. The defendant later ploughed his car onto a pavement, crashing into many people at the nearby bus-stop. As a result, a woman named Saichon Luangsang was killed and seven others were injured.
When confronted by onlookers at the scene, Kanpitak appeared to have convulsions.
During the trial by a lower court, Kanpitak admitted to the charge of physically assaulting the bus driver but he rejected the charge of manslaughter and attempted murder.
In January 2009, the lower court sentenced the defendant to 10 years and a month in jail after finding him guilty of manslaughter and attempted murder. The term was reduced by two-third from the original penalty on grounds that the defendant had provided compensation to the victims and their families and that he had a mental problem.