“Mr Keating will be required to present himself at Karon Police Station at 10am tomorrow (Feb 9) to be formally charged,” Karon Police Chief Col Sanya Thongsawad told The Phuket News this morning (Feb 8).
Mr Keating and Ms Collie were riding jet-skis near Kata Beach at 4:45pm on Sunday when they collided in the water at high speed, leaving Ms Collie with severe injuries to her neck and shoulders. (See story here.)
Mr Keating said strong sunlight reflected off the sea and made it impossible to see the jet-ski of Ms Collie, leading to the crash. (See story here.)
“We expect the case to take about a month to be heard in court,” Col Sanya said.
Mr Keating will not be permitted go home in that time, he added.
“He will not be allowed to leave Thailand while the case is being heard as is standard procedure, his name will be added to the Immigration list to prevent him from leaving the country while the case is in court,” Col Sanya said.
However, Col Sanya added that he expected Mr Keating to be handed down no more than a two-year suspended sentence.
The Phuket News contacted the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) in Australia to confirm whether the Australian Government was aware that Mr Keating is to be prevented from leaving Thailand while the case is heard in court. The Phuket News has yet to receive confirmation that is so.
Col Sanya said the Keating and Collie families had met in Phuket in the aftermath of Ms Collie’s death.
“The two families know each other very well. The Keating family said they were so sorry for what happened, and Ms Collie’s family said they know Mr Keating well and that no one wanted this to happen,” Col Sanya said.
“Ms Collie’s family said they understood that it was just an accident. They do not believe there was any intent on causing harm, or the death, of Ms Collie, and they also expressed their sympathies to Mr Keating for how he must feel,” he added.
Col Sanya explained police had no choice in pressing the reckless driving charge.
“By law in Thailand, when an incident results in the death of a person, police are required to formally press a charge,” he said.
Ms Collie’s family is expected to take her body back home to Australia this weekend, Col Sanya added.
“We are not exactly sure when as this depends on staff at Vachira Phuket Hospital completing procedural requirements,” he said.