Retrial for innocent ex-teacher who served 18 months in jail
January 12, 2017 01:00 By MAYUREE SUKYINGCHAROENWONG, PIYANUCH TAMNUKASETCHAI THE NATION
A COURT has agreed to reopen the case of a former Sakhon Nakhon-based schoolteacher who served 18 months in prison for a 2005 hit-and-run crime that she did not commit.
Jomsap Saenmuangkhot’s retrial is set for January 16 at Nakhon Phanom Provincial Court.
She said: “I hope heaven will have mercy allowing the innocent to receive aid and remedial measures. I still believe that the court is just but my case in the past [which resulted to her being sentenced by a primary court to three years and two months for the crime] stemmed from mistakes by police officers and attorneys.
“I understand that the court didn’t visit the area to investigate the truth themselves but considered from the evidence reported to court. I hope that wrongdoers would get punished as per the course of justice.”
Jomsap, who said she would consider filing a civil lawsuit in the future, said she had worked as a schoolteacher for 31 years but couldn’t continue in the job after her imprisonment in 2013, which was pardoned on April, 2015.
Her petition for reinstatement was pending a court’s ruling that would exonerate her and order her to get her career back, she said.
Jomsap, who was currently unemployed, said the case affected her family and loved ones. During the court battle to prove her innocence, her eldest son died and her second son had to drop out of school because the family could not afford the tuition and expenses, she said.
Jomsap’s friend Rojana Jantharat had told Amarin TV that she and other friends had been trying to help Jomsap clear her name.
She said she checked with the Land Transport Office and found that the car involved in the incident with registration number Bor Khor-56 wasn’t only available in Sakhon Nakhon but also other provinces.
They narrowed it down to a green car registration plate and found an exact match of Bor Khor-56 Mukdahan. They traced to the car owner’s home and the owner eventually admitted he was once involved in a crash. He admitted he was involved in the Nakhon Phanom crash in 2005 but didn’t know that Jomsap had served a jail term.
Deputy Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Justice Pol Col Dusadee Arayawuth and centre to help debtors and victims of injustice secretary Nithit Phurikhup said the centre had helped submit the new evidence to court and asked for the case to be reopened as Jomsap had insisted she was with her family in Sakhon Nakhon at the time of crash.
After officials deemed that Jomsap was innocent, they found the real culprit who reportedly admitted the offence to court. He showed where he hid the car and the garage that repaired damage after the crash. As the suspect was a well-to-do man, the court was convinced he wasn’t hired to take the blame.
As Jomsap was a criminal case defendant entitled to compensation, Nithit said the authority had to wait until the court exonerated her before he put forward her application for remedial measures.
He also urged people in need of legal aid to ask for help before the case is finalised as it was not easy to re-open such a case. Those who were innocent should defend themselves because trials were based on evidence presented by investigators.