54-year Clive Everall went to the funeral of the deceased man and hugged family members. Told by police that it was an accident and that was the end of the matter criminally, he was surprised to be later summoned by them and ordered to pay compensation. He was even more surprised to be arrested days afterwards as he attempted to board a flight home to the United Kingdom.
A man from the United Kingdom who came to Thailand to teach English fears that he may be imprisoned on Wednesday when he comes again before a court in Uttaradit province in northern Thailand approximately 238 km southeast of Chiang Mai. This follows demands for compensation after he was involved in a motorbike accident on January 29th in which a 77-year-old man lost his life and which local police have determined was an accident.
An English man from Shrewsbury is this week in trepidation before a Thai court hearing scheduled for Wednesday which he fears could lead to him being jailed over a road traffic accident which occurred on January 29th last.
54-year-old Clive Everall has been living and working in Thailand as a teacher. At home in the UK, he is a plasterer by trade and came to Thailand through an agency to do voluntary work.
Motorbike accident occurred on January 29th
On Wednesday, January 29th, Mr Everall was returning from teaching at Uttaradit High School in the morning when his motorbike hit a 77-year-old Thai man killing him. The UK man insists that he was both sober and driving his motorbike carefully. He insists that the accident was simply unavoidable.
Police agreed that it was not a criminal matter
When interviewed by Thai police, they also concluded that the death of the older man was an accident. ‘The police said, ‘Don’t worry, it was an accident’, and I was backed by the agency I was working for,’ Mr Everall told the Shropshire Star this week as he launched an appeal to highlight his predicament.
Attended the dead man’s funeral
He revealed that he had even attended the funeral of the older man and held his hand during the funeral ceremony before the cremation. He was greeted by the dead man’s family members and hugged them in consolation before the cremation took place.
‘I have done everything I can to be respectful,’ he stressed this week.
Summoned to the local police station
Last Monday, the situation took on a different demeanour for the UK man.
He was summoned to the local station and invited to pay compensation to the family for their loss. The UK man could not fully understand how he would be required to pay compensation if there were no criminal charges.
Thailand’s legal system differs from codes in western countries – compensation demand made to police
However, Thailand’s legal code is different from that in the UK and European legal codes. Police are often involved at the outset of civil matters. In turn, failure to pay sums demanded and subsequently ordered by the courts can lead to jail time.
Mr Everall explained to police that he could possibly pay ฿20,000 or £491 but was told that the family were seeking at least ten times that amount.
Mr Everall signed a police document and was told by officers to return home and raise the funds needed to compensate the family properly.
Arrested at Chiang Mai International Airport by Immigration police as he attempted to board a flight
Mr Everall was then subsequently arrested at Chiang Mai International Airport as he attempted to fly back to the United Kingdom.
A warrant had been issued for his arrest and the matter was being handled by Immigration Police. The UK man was held in custody and returned to Uttaradit province.
Brought back to police in Uttaradit province
Back in Uttaradit, on the day after his arrest, the UK man had another interview with police. This time he had a Thai lawyer and interpreter present.
The UK man refused to sign police documentation prepared for him that was written in Thai.
Ankle bracelet ordered by the court
He subsequently appeared before a Thai court and was ordered to wear an ankle bracelet.
His case is again scheduled to come before the judge in the matter on Wednesday next. He fears that if he cannot pay the required compensation by then, he will be jailed in Thailand.
Raised nearly ฿80,000 online
Like many other UK and western nationals on sticky wickets in Thailand, he has resorted to crowdfunding and his story has already raised nearly £2,000 or ฿80,000.
Needs to return to the UK to earn the full amount demanded by the family as compensation
He is offering Thai authorities what he can but is also pleading for the opportunity to be allowed to return to the United Kingdom and pay the family from there in stage payments.
‘I just want to come home,’ he says. ‘My plan is to negotiate a payment plan with the family and be allowed to leave the country. I have got work when I come back. I want to do what’s right but I can’t do anything for them if I am locked up.’
The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth has confirmed that it is providing consular assistance to a UK national who has been arrested in Thailand. Officials say they are also in touch with the man’s family.
In anticipation of his court case on Wednesday, Clive Everall says he is trying to stay optimistic. ‘I am trying to remain strong and keep my head high. I am a caring man and I had come here to do something good.’