Woman spends 1.5 years in jail for hit-and-run murder she didn’t commit

Because the police remembered the wrong license plate number, an innocent schoolteacher was imprisoned for one year and six months for a hit-and-run road accident that resulted in a fatality in 2005.

Yesterday, the Legal Aid Center for Debtors and Victims of Injustice revealed to the press new details in the case of Jomsap Saenmuangkot, 54, a school teacher from Sakon Nakhon who went to jail as a scapegoat for a hit-and-run accident in Nakhon Panom province. After she was freed under a royal pardon in 2015, the center helped her gather evidence and brought the true perpetrator to justice.

On March 11, 2005, Jomsap Saenmeungkot was with her family in Sakon Nakhon when a car accident in Nakhon Panom resulted in a casualty. A police officer recognized the culprit’s car plate number, but unfortunately, he remembered the number incorrectly, he recalled the one that belongs to Jomsap instead.

Although the 54-year-old school teacher insisted that she was not even in the province where the crime occurred, she was accused of causing death by reckless driving. In 2013, the court sentenced her to three years and two months in prison. She was released under a royal pardon in 2015, having spent one year and a half in prison, according to Kapook.

Working with the Legal Aid Center, police found the real hit-and-runner who confessed to the crime in court, and thus can prove that Jomsap is innocent. The new trial is scheduled on Jan. 16.

Nithit Phurikup, secretary to the Legal Aid Center, said that Jomsap can request compensation after the court rules her innocent. He suggested that citizens who face incorrect accusations must fight their cases and affirm their innocence.

The case has gravely damaged Jomsap’s life and family. Without her as the provider for her family, her son has had to give up his higher education. After being released, Jomsap still cannot resume her 31-year-long job as a school teacher because she needs to wait for the court’s official exoneration. Even so, many acquaintances and former students of Jomsap’s refuse to acknowledge her and are estranged from her, Daily News reported.

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