Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Former Buddhist monk seeks £250,000 compensation after fatal crash

Sangthong Phensrisai Image copyright Ciaran Donnelly
Image caption Sangthong Phensrisai was one of four passengers travelling in the car when the crash happened in Midlothian in December 2012

A former Buddhist monk who claims he cannot meditate after being involved in a fatal car crash is seeking £250,000 compensation.

Sangthong Phensrisai, from Leith, was travelling back to Edinburgh from London on Christmas Eve 2012 when the car he was in lost control near Fala Dam in Midlothian.

Three other passengers died.

Driver, Anong Yukitan, has admitted liability but is contesting the amount of compensation. The hearing continues.

Mr Phensrisai, 50, told the Court of Session that he fell asleep and came round in hospital to be told that the accident had happened.

"I was unconscious. I just woke up in hospital. It was like the whole body fell apart," he said.

He was found to have suffered fractures to ribs, his sternum and back and had suffered head injuries.

Loss of earnings

It is said that he suffered loss, injury and damage through the driver, Ms Yukitan's, fault and negligence.

It is said that as she approached a corner on the A68 road she lost control of the Nissan Note which flipped onto it side and went into the path of oncoming traffic and was hit on the roof by another car.

In the action it is said that Mr Phensrisai was "shocked and saddened" by the news of the deaths of the three monks who died at the scene of the accident.

He maintains in the action that following the accident his studies for a PhD degree were disrupted and he lost earnings as a translator and interpreter and for work in the prison service.

It is said he continues to have pain in his back and chest and is unable to bow and do sitting meditation.

Meditation positions

It is alleged that he is compromised in the labour market and will have difficulty undertaking work involving prolonged sitting, standing, walking, bending or heavy lifting.

The Thai-born, British resident told the court that he had been a Buddhist monk for about 25 years before deciding to pursue further academic studies.

The meditation teacher had worked in prisons in England and said that among the meditation positions was sitting cross-legged and upright.

He said the longest he would have meditated sitting was three hours, but that in jail those who attended would meditate sitting on chairs or on the floor, but not cross-legged.

Lawyers acting for the driver maintain that the sum sued for in the action is excessive.

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