Chances of an early release from Thai prison of James Christensen, the 44 year old Dane serving a ten year prison term in Southern Thailand, faded yesterday as the court in Langsuan set the bail amount to 800.000 baht.
A long list of Danes and other Scandinavians living in South East Asia and Denmark have collected 300.000 baht in cash since his surprising imprisonment on 15 August. The initiative was an attempt to collect the amount of 400.000 baht, which his lawyer in the lower court in Langsuan, Pongsak Suthanin initially estimated would be the amount needed.
Yesterday, the court in Langsuan said they had no idea how Mr. Pongsak had reached this estimate.
“In an appeal case, the bail will always be at least 50 pct. higher then the bail set at the lower court,” staff at the bail and guarantees office yesterday explained to ScandAsia.
“During his trial here (at the local court in Langsuan in Chumporn province) James Christensen was bailed out for a guarantee of 500.000 baht, so you should prepare to pay 800.000 baht in cash or in terms of other assets offered as collateral. It makes no difference in an appeals case whether you submit cash or assets,” the official added
The staff suggested contacting one of a handful of insurance companies who offer to provide the bail amount needed against a partial down payment and personal guarantors to cover the rest. One of the most well-known of these companies is Wiriya Insurance Co., Ltd..
Staff at the Freedom Department of Wiriya Insurance could, however, right away say that this service was not available to foreigners. And anyway it could not be applied in a criminal case of the nature in question, they added.
A positive development in the efforts to secure the release of James Christensen at the appeals court in Bangkok is, however, that the court in Langsuan on Tuesday accepted to move the deadline for submitting the appeals request from the defense from the first deadline on 15 October to now 30 October.
The additional two weeks are needed, because the draft received by the local lawyer in Langsuan, Pongsak Suthanin, does not sufficiently state James Christensen’s case.
The verdict of guilty against James Christensen reached by the lower court was based only on circumstantial evidence. The police and the public prosecutor failed at the lower court in providing any proof of the arson to be committed by the Dane.
Around 300.000 baht is paid up or pledged by a range of people. To reach the new amount of 800.000 baht now needed, an additonal 500.000 baht must be found.
If you are in a position to offer a substantial contribution towards providing these 500.000 baht – equal to 80.000 Danish kroner – either in cash or in terms of assets, please email Publisher Gregers Moller urgently on [email protected] or follow the link below for online payment or bank transfer details: