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Phuket court sets June date for Aussie tourist Keating’s trial

Fears have been raised that Australian tourist Thomas Keating will be stuck in Thailand for a further four months until the Phuket Provincial Court hears the evidence against him at a court hearing scheduled for June.

Mr Keating has already entered 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.

However, according to the Phuket Provincial Court public register, Mr Keating must present himself in court at 10am on Friday, June 23 to hear the verdict for or against him, The Phuket News learned today (Feb 24).

A court official explained to The Phuket News today (Feb 24) that although Mr Keating has entered a plea of guilty – the court will still have to receive the evidence against him and then 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.

However, the extra four months delay in the trial does not concur with the understanding explained by Maj Patiwat Yodkwan of the Karon Police as recently as Monday this week (Feb 20).

Speaking to The Phuket News on Monday, Maj Patiwat confirmed that Mr Keating had presented himself in court last Friday (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. (See story here.)

A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade today 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.

“The Australian Government is unable to interfere with the sovereign legal processes of other states,” the spokesperson said.

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.

“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.”

Phuket News

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