Programme on bail without collateral for criminal suspects launched

Thirteen courts throughout the country have carried out a programme to grant bail for criminal suspects who have no money or property to deposit as collateral.

The 13 courts which have carried out this programme include Chiang Mai Court, Kalasin Court, Chanthaburi Court, Surat Thani Court, Bangkok South Criminal Court, Thonburi Criminal Court and some district courts.

Chalit Sawasdithat, chief justice of the Bangkok South Criminal Court, the launch of the programme is based on the fact that some of the criminal suspects have no money or property to place as collateral for temporary freedom.  As a result, they are detained while fighting the cases, affecting their rights and liberties.

In order for a suspect to qualify to apply for bail under his programme, the charges filed against him or her must carry a penalty of not more than five years in jail.  Included in this category are theft, fraud and drug cases.

During the past year, the Bangkok South Criminal Court allowed 140 suspects from about 200 applicants to be freed on bail.  Of the 140 suspects, 14 escaped while on bail.

The suspects who apply for bail without collateral are required to fill up a questionnaire for court officials to assess their flight risk.  The questions are mainly about their names, addresses, family backgrounds and criminal records.