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