Arrest warrant for Chatuchak fires

The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected a plea for leniency by a former company legal officer and issued a warrant for her arrest to serve a 16-year jail term for the 2007 arson of stalls at the Sunday Market in Chatuchak.

Prosecutors of the Criminal Litigation Office 8 intially filed a case against Apinya Wongbanyat, 57, former chief of the legal office of Thanasarnsombat Pattana Co, which operated the Chatukchak Sunday Market, and Narin Phoya, 34, for arson and violating the Firearms Act.

The lawsuit stated that on July 12, 2007  Apinya paid Narin 10,000 baht to set fire to four ornamental fish stalls in the Sunday Market on Kamphaeng Phet road in Chatuchak district, causing about 1.3 million baht damage.  

Apinya denied the charge, while Narin confessed to the crime.

The Criminal Court on June 3, 2011 sentenced Apinya to 16 years in prison and Narin to 10 years.  Narin's sentence was halved to five years because he confessed.  He did not appeal.

Apinya took her case to the Appeals Court, which upheld the lower court's verdict.

Apinya then petitioned the Supreme Court, seeking leniency and saying that some prosecution witnesses gave conflicting statements during the investigation and that Narin confessed involuntarily.

The Supreme Court, in its judgement read out today, dismissed the petition for lack of new evidence. 

Apinya was earlier summoned to appear before the Supreme Court to hear the ruling on July 8, but she did not show up. The court rescheduled the reading of the judgement for today.

Neither Apinya nor her lawyer showed up for today's hearing.  This court issued a warrant for her arrest to serve the 16-year prison sentence.

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