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Thai Drunk doctor avoids jail

The Thon Buri district court has sentenced a police doctor, charged with drunk driving and causing two deaths and a serious injury in a crash in Bangkok last year, to three years in jail suspended for two years.

Dr Panurak Rattanapaisorn, a surgeon at the Police General Hospital, was originally sentenced to six years and ordered to pay a fine of 202,000 baht, but both penalties were later halved following his confession. The court also ordered his jail term to be suspended for two years.

According to the prosecutors, on Aug 29 last year the doctor, who holds the rank of captain, was driving during the early evening along Ratchapruek Road in Phasicharoen district while drunk at a speed in excess of the 80km per hour speed limit.

He lost control of his Porsche and crashed into a Honda Civic, killing Pornyamol Sae Lim, 29, and Chakrit Siri-issaranan, 75, who were passengers and seriously injuring Pongpetch Siri-issaranan, 44, the driver.

After the sentencing on Monday, Kantapong Siri-issaranan, Chakrit’s son and Ms Pongpetch’s older brother, said he would not only appeal, but also call on the court to increase the jail term and drop its suspension. He insisted the doctor had not repented as he denied the charges all the way up until the trial began.

Panurak: Given lenient sentence

The defendant had offered compensation worth 1.5 million baht for the death of his father and one million baht for Ms Pongpetch’s injury.

“The two compensation portions combined are not even worth half the price of his Porsche,” Mr Kantapong said.

During the investigation, Dr Panurak said he did not feel drunk while driving and the accident was a result of the wet evening. He said he had tried to revive Chakrit but failed.

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