Stockbroker denied bail, jailed for posting rumours about King's health

The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied bail to Katha P., a stockbroker who was imprisoned for posting rumours about the king’s health condition, citing flight risk. 
 
The Appeal Court last week sentenced Katha to two years and eight months for spreading false rumours online which might cause public panic and endanger national security, under Article 14 of the Computer Crime Act. The court said the rumours caused a sharp fall in the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET). 
 
On Dec 25, 2012, the Court of First Instance found Katha guilty on two counts under the 2007 Computer Crimes Act and sentenced him to 6 years in prison, but reduced the prison term to 4 years due to his guilty plea. Katha was granted bail with a guarantee of 500,000 baht in cash.
 
Katha, 39, was found guilty of using the username “Wet Dream” to post the two comments in April and October 2009 on a now-defunct anti-establishment Same Sky web forum
 
The first comment, posted in April 2009, was about the royal family and the yellow-shirt movement. The second comment was posted on October 14, 2010, 3 pm, and concerned rumours about HM the King’s health. 
 
In July 2012, Katha submitted a petition to the Constitutional Court to rule whether Article 14 (2) of the Computer-Related Crime Act 2550 is an unclear law that provides an opportunity for officials to use an unlimited power of discretion. The Constitutional Court ruled in September 2012 that Article 14 (2) aims to protect national security and public order. This is consistent with the rule of law and assigns legal responsibility to individuals in a manner that is right and just to all parties.