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Phuket jet-ski crash: Court expedites trial date for Aussie tourist Keating

PHUKET: The Phuket Provincial Court has brought forward the trial date for Australian tourist Thomas Keating, who was previously set to be stuck in Thailand for a further four months awaiting trial.

tourism, accidents, death, police, marine,

Yutthawat Lekmak

Wednesday 1 March 2017, 03:23PM

Aussie tourist Thomas Keating (in blue shirt) arrives at Karon Police Station on Feb 9. Photo: Premkamon Ketsara
Aussie tourist Thomas Keating (in blue shirt) arrives at Karon Police Station on Feb 9. Photo: Premkamon Ketsara

As of last Friday (Feb 24), the court public register showed a trial date of June 23 to hear the evidence against Mr Keating, despite the devastated young Australian already entering a plea of guilty to the court to the charge of reckless driving causing death for the jet-ski accident that killed his girlfriend of two years, Emily Collie, on Feb 17.

A court official explained to The Phuket News that although Mr Keating had entered a plea of guilty – the court still must hear the evidence against him and hand down its verdict.

“Presently, Thomas Keating has been released on bail by the court, but his passport is being held by the court and he can’t go out of the Kingdom of Thailand during this time,” the court official said.

“Sorry, we cannot give more information,” the official added.

The official declined to reveal the amount of bail posted to release Mr Keating.

The new trial date of March 23 now correlates with the understanding explained by Maj Patiwat Yodkwan of the Karon Police last week (Feb 20), when Maj Patiwat confirmed that Mr Keating had presented himself in court on Feb 17 and acknowledged the charge of reckless driving causing death made against him.

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“It will still take a further four or five days for the court to reach a decision in this case against Mr Keating as judges still have to examine all documents and evidence relating to the case,” Maj Patiwat said.

A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade last Friday told The Phuket News, “The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to an Australian man who has been charged over a jet-ski accident in Thailand, and his family, in line with the Consular Services Charter.”

Mr Keating has expressed “unbearable sorrow” over the death of Ms Collie, his 20-year-old girlfriend of two years from the north-east Victorian town of Kyabram in Australia.

“This was a tragic accident. However, I take responsibility for what happened,” Keating said in a statement several days after the crash.

“And I have decided that the best thing is to accept a charge of reckless driving leading to death…

“I would like to express my unbearable sorrow at the loss of my soulmate, Emily, who I loved more than anything in this world, as well as my never-ending apologies and condolences to Ian and Sally Collie and the rest of their family.”



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swerv | 04 March 2017 - 10:10:29

Kurt: Where does it state that he was broken mentally to confess? Where you there, did you personally witness it or is this just another figment of your imagination?

He stated: “And I have decided that the best thing is to accept a charge of reckless driving leading to death". He accepted the charge, he did not break down mentally and confess.

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Kurt | 03 March 2017 - 13:28:51

@jogi. There you have a point. 
But we live here, we are a bit used to thainess, even we not always understand.
But respect and go along with it.
Sometimes it has it's charm as well, to be honest.

However for the australian families of mr Keating and his passed away long time girlfriend it must be a horrible time.
These families were out of the blue confronted with what we read in press.
They don't know about thainess, but experience it in the most negative way.
How to understand a by thai vendor illegal renting out jet skies? Who is until now not arrested and interrogated.
How to understand that after a big wave accident the survivor got arrested and interrogated more than 7 hours in a village police station and broke him mentally in such way that he 'confessed'?
How can someone confess a accident?

A Karon Village were actually 2 years ago the mayor and other officials were officially handed out criminal charges, but they still govern as they are not charged.
A full blown thainess corruption case. 
Not locked up, not sacked, not convicted.
That kind of thainess is hard to understand, not only for 'tourists' who come here to take care of the body of the daughter and support for mr Keating.

It is a shameful thainess, this whole affair.

A lot of things are wrong in Karon-Kata. It is a kind of pirate nest.
But what can you expect if people with criminal charge papers in their pocket are allowed by thai Government to remain being the boss in Karon-Kata?

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jogi | 03 March 2017 - 12:03:54

@Kurt because you and I not thai we don't see the bright side of this tragic accident. a other 4 month room/s hired out to tourist/s. say the aussie awaiting trail and have for the next 120 day's support,(family, Friend) mybe needed protection from korrupt officials (exaggorated jetski dammage claim's, overstay and visa-extension claims) so it would  increase from 120 to 240  tourist stay's plus the 2x4 30day tourist  visa extension, hopefullly not to the price of the discretion of the well known lady at patong immigration. we farrangs still have to learn a lot of so called thainess  

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Kurt | 02 March 2017 - 11:32:38

@ Discover Thainess.
You are right! Tourists should think twice before renting a jetski. 
Before you know you can discover thainess after a jetski accident!

I still not understand the whole affair. 2 lovers accidentally, hit by big wave, collided. 1 did die  in the accident.
The other, mr Keating, get interrogated more than 7 hours at Karon village police station, and got charged.
Charged for what?
Charged for the 'big wave', charged for the unfortunate accident?
I am perplex how thai officials like wolves bite themselves in this whole affair, and mr Keating is their prey. Treating mr Keating as he is a suspect criminal.

How about the thai jet ski vendor who rent out, against the thai law, 2 jet skies to tourists without helmsman certificate?
If this affair, with a lot of thainess, is so important, why is the jet ski owner not interrogated/locked up/punished for committing a crime what resulted in the lost of a tourist life in a big wave accident?
The jetski vendor must be a very, very influential Person!
A kind of untouchable VIP! No arrest.

The law is the law. Yes, but more law enforcement towards foreigners than to thai.
Week in, week out examples of that:
-- a Russian fish bread feeding lady. Who did sell her the bread? Any arrest?
-- a thai bus driver run a red light in Pattaya, 2 Russian kids very serious wounded in hospital. ( were 1 week unconscious). Any arrest?

Perhaps arrest considerations are more 'commercial-' than law enforcement thinking when it comes to tourists?

Again: Thai authorities/officials should start to understand the power of 'virals', 'socials', and apps.

The damage they create by their ownactions/behavior goes all over the world.
And later, when it bounce back to them they cry croc tears,...."oh, not fair, farang damage thailand'.

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Discover Thainess | 01 March 2017 - 23:20:51

The moral of this story is very clear, DO NOT rent JetSkis in Thailand. Its very clear!

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