Official summary of court verdict in Somyot Prueksakasemsuk’s case

Here is an unofficial English translation of the official summary verdict released by the Criminal Court on 23 January 2013.

000

Verdict (Summary Version)

Black case no. O2962/2554

 

Public Prosecutor, Office of the Attorney General (OAG)  Prosecutor
V. 
Mr. Somyot Pruksakasemsuk  Defendant
 
The plaintiff charged that in the period between the daytime of 15 February 2010 and the daytime of 15 March 2010, the defendant defamed, insulted and threatened His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the Head of the Kingdom of Thailand, through the publication, distribution and dissemination in public of the Voice of Taksin magazine, Vol. 1, no. 15, issued in the latter fortnight of February 2010. The issue contains a column entitled ‘Khom Kwam Kid’ written by the user of the pseudonym Jitra Polchan which features an article entitled ‘Plan for a Bloodbath, Fight between generations’ on pp. 45-47. The content of the article conveys the message that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was the person who gave the order for the massacre in the 6 October 1976 event, and had been planning situations to slaughter a number of people mercilessly after the verdict to seize Thaksin Shinawatra’s assets. This is unfounded, and hence constitutes an act of defaming, insulting and threatening His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. In the period between the daytime of 1 March 2010 and the daytime of 15 March 2010, the defendant defamed the monarch of the Kingdom of Thailand through the publication, distribution and dissemination in public in Bangkok and the provinces throughout Thailand the Voice of Taksin magazine, Vol. 1, no. 16, issued in the first fortnight of March 2010. The issue contains a column entitled ‘Khom Kwam Kid’ written by the user of the pseudonym Jitra Polchan with an article entitled ‘6 October 2010’ on pp. 45-47. The content of the article conveys the message that His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was implicated in various conflicts and bloodshed in Thailand, and that His Majesty masterminded initiatives which dismantled pro-democratic movements. This information is unfounded and thus it constitutes an act of defaming, insulting and threatening His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The Court was requested to prosecute the defendant under Sections 58, 91 and 112 of the Penal Code, and to add the term of imprisonment from Red Case no. O1078/2552 previously ordered by the Criminal Court to any term of imprisonment passed on the defendant in this case.
 
The defendant denied the charge, but admitted that he was the same person as the defendant in the previous case where the plaintiff had requested the term of imprisonment to be added to any passed in this case 
 
In considering the testimony, the plaintiff’s evidence and the defendant’s evidence, this case raises the question as to whether the defendant has actually committed the offence as charged. While the plaintiff charged that the defendant committed the offence of defaming, insulting and threatening His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of the Kingdom of Thailand through the publication, distribution and dissemination of the Voice of Taksin magazines which constitutes a violation of Section 112 of the Penal Code. Against this the defendant contended that the Printing Act of 2007 abolished the Printing and Publishing Act of 1941 and hence the defendant was not guilty of a violation under Section 2, Paragraph 2 of the Penal Code. This means the defendant was not guilty of a violation of the 1941 Printing and Publishing Act only, but his act in violation of Section 112 of the Penal Code as charged was not absolved by the implications of the law as such. In response to the defendant’s plea that he was not the author of the articles brought to court by the plaintiff, the plaintiff has prosecuted the defendant for defaming, insulting and threatening His Majesty through the publication, distribution and dissemination of the Voice of Taksin magazine. The defendant’s plea, therefore, does not concern the prosecuted act and hence is not an issue in the case that the Court will consider. The Court, thus, will not proceed according to Section 104, Paragraph 1 of the Civil Procedure Code, in addition to Section 15 of the Criminal Procedure Code. As to whether the defendant has committed an act in breach of Section 112 of the Penal Code, the ‘Khom Kwam Kid’ articles in both issues of the Voice of Taksin magazine include content which does not mention names, but was written with the intention to link past events together. When events of the past are brought together, it can be implied that they refer to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The contents of the articles are thus acts of defaming, insulting and threatening His Majesty the King. That the defendant published, distributed and disseminated the articles is hence indicative of the intent to defame, insult and threaten His Majesty in violation of Section 112 of the Penal Code. The publication of two issues at different times constitutes two different offences.
 
The Court rules that the defendant is found guilty of violating Section 112 of the Penal Code. As his acts were committed on different occasions, he shall be prosecuted according to each offence. In accordance with Section 91 of the Penal Code, the defendant is sentenced to a five-year term of imprisonment for each offence, totalling a ten-year term for two offences. By adding to a one-year term of imprisonment from the previous Red Case no. O1078/2552, the defendant is sentenced to 11 years in prison.  
 
Translated by Piangtawan Phanprasit
 

 

Comments

The last time I heard was

The last time I heard was that the king is head of state, not as worded in this translation as head of the kingdom. Is the translation wanting or is the judge, as often is the case, misspoken?
Exactly what is going on is one thing adverse to what is represented as going on, in political dealings that are held by those conducting and protecting them as non-political.

The Thai says:

The Thai says: พระมหากษัตริย์แห่งราชอาณาจักรไทย - which translates as the king of the kingdom of Thailand or perhaps just king of Thailand.

Compare this with the usage

Compare this with the usage in a different context, namely the Thai constitution:

มาตรา ๒ ประเทศไทยมีการปกครองระบอบประชาธิปไตยอันมีพระมหากษัตริย์ทรงเป็นประมุข

Section 2. Thailand adopts a democratic regime of government with the King as Head of the State.

Perhaps more succinctly,

Perhaps more succinctly, "King of the Thai Kingdom. Why not say something like King and Head of State of Thailand? As per the constitution...

As PPT points out and has

As PPT points out and has pointed out things are getting much worse, and not at all better in Thailand.

In Thailand, a Broader Definition of Insulting Royalty

The criminal court’s ruling said the defendant, Yossawarit Chuklom, had not specifically mentioned the king when he gave a speech in 2010 to a large group of people protesting the military-backed government then in power.

But by making a gesture of being muzzled — placing his hands over his mouth — Mr. Yossawarit had insinuated that he was talking about the king, the court ruled.

“Even though the defendant did not identify His Majesty the king directly,” the court ruled, Mr. Yossawarit’s speech “cannot be interpreted any other way.”

The judgment on Thursday appears to have been the first time that someone was convicted of implying an insult, said the defendant’s lawyer, Thamrong Lakdaen.

“There was no mention of the king’s name in the speech,” Mr. Thamrong said. “It’s all interpretation.”

Mr. Thamrong said the court used “speculation” to convict his client.

[Unofficial English translation of the] Official summary of court verdict in Somyot Prueksakasemsuk’s case

As to whether the defendant has committed an act in breach of Section 112 of the Penal Code, the ‘Khom Kwam Kid’ articles in both issues of the Voice of Taksin magazine include content which does not mention names, but was written with the intention to link past events together. When events of the past are brought together, it can be implied that they refer to His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

The Criminal Court's clairvoyant powers have been unleashed in defense of the traditional 'elite' in Thailand. The Criminal Court judges can look into the hearts of those brought before them and convict on the basis of good or evil intentions. Mere actions are irrelevant.

This is terrorism. Contrary to what the royalists say concerning their supposed mystical and mysterious culture, we in the West - all over the earth - are all too familiar with the culture of fundamentalist terrorism.

The dummy meant inferred...

The dummy meant inferred...

The 'dummy' being the

The 'dummy' being the translator, right? The official verdict exists only in Thai. The article is clearly labelled as an 'unofficial translation'.

The wording of the judgement

The wording of the judgement is quite interesting. The court says that the articles can be read as accusations against the King and that these accusations are "unfounded", that is to say false and not supported by evidence, and thus they constitute lese majeste.

I had always thought that legally it it didn't matter whether or not an accusation was true or false in cases of lese majeste. It just had to "defame, threaten or insult". But this judgement seems to imply that if any accusation were well-founded it would not be lese majeste.

However, it's probably of mere academic interest because I can't imagine any Thai courts finding that accusations of this type were true under any circumstances or under any amount of evidence.

To Brian Knight, the dummy

To Brian Knight, the dummy meant implied. Check your dictionary before issuing nasty, humorless, pedantic and ignorant insults.