Crime & Justice

Court postpones hearing of Spanish murder-accused on Thai island

Koh Samui, Thailand, Oct 26 (EFE).- A court on the Thai island of Koh Samui on Thursday postponed the hearing of murder-accused Spaniard Daniel Sancho until next month.

Sancho, 29, has been charged in the case of the murder and dismemberment of Colombian surgeon Edwin Arrieta on the neighboring island of Koh Phangan in August.

Thursday’s hearing, which began at 9 am local time (GMT+7) with Sancho in attendance, was first postponed by the court for a few hours, and then until Nov. 13, due to the defendant’s request for a Spanish interpreter.

On Wednesday, the Prosecutor’s Office presented to the court its report in which it accused Sancho of premeditated murder and concealment of a body – which the Thai police had established in their investigation – as well as the destruction of other people’s documents. These were to be read to the Spaniard on Thursday at the hearing.

In addition to the postponement, the court assigned Sancho a lawyer, Krit Sudthanom, who said at the courthouse that he has not yet met with Sancho and that he will not do so until Nov. 13.

The Spaniard has not had a lawyer in Thailand – where he can only be defended by a Thai citizen – since Sep. 7, after his famous actor father Rodolfo Sancho dispensed with the services of Thai lawyer Anan Chuayprabat due to “discrepancies in the defense.”

According to the court-appointed lawyer, Sancho on Thursday refused to make any statement and conveyed his desire to have an in-person interpreter after the court offered him one online.

Rodolfo Sancho was in court Thursday and was able to speak with his son before he was transferred back to Samui prison, where he has been in pretrial detention since Aug. 7.

Two days earlier, the accused had confessed to police on Koh Phangan to the murder and dismemberment of Arrieta.

Thailand’s Penal Code provides for the death penalty for crimes such as premeditated murder, but if handed down, this is usually later commuted to life imprisonment.

On the other hand, the confession and cooperation of the accused could help to reduce a sentence. EFE


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