On July 2, Daranee Chanchoengsilapakul appeared in court for an open trial in a second case in which she was accused of surrounding the office of ASTV and insulting Sondhi Limthongkul when she led a group of red shirts to protest against the yellow shirts’ mouthpiece in 2007.
Daranee was prosecuted on charges of gathering in a group of ten or more people to instigate public unrest, detaining other people, damaging private property, trespass, and insulting others, in the incident when she led a group of about 50-70 red shirts to protest at the ASTV office on Phra Athit Road on June 1, 2007.
Prawase Praphanukul, Daranee’s lawyer, said that the hearings on July 2-3 were for the witnesses for the prosecution, and the witnesses for the defence would be heard on July 9-10. The defence lawyer had requested the court to summon Sondhi Limthongkul to testify as a witness, but Sondhi’s lawyers declined, claiming that Sondhi was recuperating from injuries from the assassination attempt and as the injured person in this case, Sondhi’s testimony would be unlikely to benefit the defendant.
ASTV cameraman Chairat Khunhiran testified to the court as a witness for the prosecution that at about 11 pm on July 1, 2007, about 100 protesters came from Sanam Luang and surrounded the office. He smelled alcohol on the breath of some of them. He did not remember whether there were police around at that time. When the defence lawyer asked whether there were soldiers inside the office, he said he was not sure.
Chairat said that he saw Daranee speaking through a microphone, condemning Sondhi Limthongkul in foul language. Then the protesters hurled water bottles and stones at the compound, injuring one security guard at the head. He filmed the incident on tape.
In Daranee’s lèse majesté case, the hearing of witnesses for the defence is scheduled for July 28 and Aug 5, and will be closed for the public as on June 23-24.
The trial in another case in which she has been charged with insulting coup leader Gen Saprang Kalayanamitr is scheduled for Aug 25-28.