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Friday, 11 April 2008

investigation into the conduct of a Thai policeman who shot dead Leo Del Pinto

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej today (Thursday) formally ordered an investigation into the conduct of a Thai policeman who shot dead a Canadian tourist and injured a second.The Thai Premier, in his role as the Chairman of the Department of Special Investigations, ordered the DSI to formally investigate charges of murder and attempted murder.The move comes in the midst of allegations that police in Pai, a picturesque tourist village in northern Thailand, deliberately attempted to cover up the actions of one of their own officers, whom they had to investigate.
The case was taken up by the Thai Human Rights Commission. Commissioner Saisuree Kosolnavin and a team found evidence that completely contradicted the investigation conducted by Police Colonel Sombat Panya of the local Pai police.Colonel Panya claimed that Canadian Leo Del Pinto, 24, from Calgary and Carly Reisig, 24, from Chilliwack, B.C. had made an unprovoked attack on Police Sergeant Uthai Dechawiwat after he broke up a fight between them in January this year.
Uthai, he claimed, shot in self defence as he fell to the ground. His automatic hada hair trigger.The police story was subsequently published in the local press and the wire stories and transmitted worldwide.Police further said that nevertheless Sgt Uthai had been charged with murder and attempted murder but on investigation there was no court record of such charges.Witnesses and forensic evidence examined by Thailand’s leading pathologist Dr. Pornthip Rojanasund however totally contradicted the police story. Forensic evidence showed that the policeman shot down into Del Pinto’s head. Witnesses said that Sergeant Uthai pistol whipped Ms Reisig before shooting her under her left breast.The conduct of the police had earlier been referred by the TNHRC to the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission.
Dr. Saisuree said: “This development is very encouraging. The process has already started as Ms. Reisig and another witness have been allowed to give evidence in court.”



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