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.
“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.”