73 Year Old Woman Jailed For 'Electrocuting' Drug Tree Thief

(27 September) The Appeals Court sentenced a 73 year old woman to 2 years and 12 months in prison for installing electric fences around her house to prevent thieves from stealing illegal drug plants which led to the death of a 24 year old man.

Ms. Thongdee Jamsri, a resident of Bang Kapi district, Bangkok, was convicted of second degree murder and producing 41 kilograms of ?Kratom? plants, which are criminalised under current Thai laws.

The court decision detailed that Ms. Thongdee had conducted a fatally reckless action by putting 220 volt electric wires around her house, resulting in the death of Mr. Maropee Langmae, who tried to climb the fence into her house in February 2011 to steal her ?Bai Kratom?.

The lower court found Ms. Thongdee guilty of the two charges and sentenced her to 3 years and 4 months in prison. She then appealed the decision, arguing that her jail sentence should be suspended.

However, the Appeals Court only agreed to lower the jail term of her murder charge to an unsuspended sentence of 1 year and 8 months in prison. The defendant is also sentenced with an additional 1 year and 4 months for the possession of Bai Kratom.

After hearing the court decision, Ms. Thongdee said that she does not intend to take the case to the Supreme Court, in order to ask for Royal Pardon from His Majesty the King; only those who had served a required length of their jail sentence are eligible for Royal Pardon application.

Ms. Juthamas Sukanthachalachon, Ms. Thongdee′s daughter, said that her mother is suffering from Thyroid disorder and lung disease. After several consultations with their lawyer, they believe that accepting the court decision and seeking the Royal Pardon is the best solution for now.

Despite its illegal status, Bai Kratom is widely grown in Thailand, as a substance resembling Marijuana. Recently, the Thai authorities had suggested the legalisation of the plants, citing the fact that many, like Ms. Thongdee, have grown Kratom in their gardens.