Policeman sentenced to 7 years in jail for engineer’s death

The parents of a young engineer shot dead by police in Sakhon Nakhon seven years ago on the pretext that he was involved in drug dealing were finally vindicated when the Supreme Court declared their son innocent and upheld the lower court’s seven and a half years’ imprisonment imposed on the police shooter for overacting and abuse of power.

Mrs Duansai Saengrith, mother of the dead victim, Phairote, said briefly after the reading of the Supreme Court’s verdict at the Sakhon Nakhon provincial court today that she was glad that justice was finally accorded to her family and her son.

She also insisted that her son and family had never been involved in drugs as accused by the police.

The case dated back to December 27, 2011, when a seven-man police team from Panna Nikhom police station, led by Pol Snr-Sgt Maj Sitthikul Katiwong, opened fire into a car driven by Mr Phairote with two other occupants in it.

One shot struck Phairote’s neck, killing him instantly while the two others escaped unhurt. The police alleged that the victim possessed drugs and resisted police arrest.

About one year afterward, the victim’s family, with the help of the Law Council of Thailand, filed a lawsuit with Sakhon Nakhon provincial court, accusing the alleged shooter, Sitthikul, and five other policemen of abuse of power and excessive use of force against the victim whom they claimed were innocent.

Both the provincial court and the Appeals court found Sitthikul guilty and sentenced him to seven years and six months jail term. The five other policemen were acquitted.

Hailing the Supreme Court’s decision, the victim’s lawyer, Mr Ratchada Manooratchada, said the verdict should serve as a precedent to deter law enforcement officers from abusing their power.