Chiang Mai red shirt charged with lèse majesté for throwing royal flag; trial halted after stroke

 
A court in Chiang Mai decided on Wednesday to halt hearings in the case of a red-shirt supporter who faces a lèse majesté charge for throwing royal flags into the river, because the defendant suffered a stroke, iLaw has reported. 
 
On 19 May 2010, Kritsada S., a food vendor, joined a red-shirt demonstration in Chiang Mai’s Muang District. The demonstration was held in parallel with the mass street protests at Bangkok’s Ratchaprasong intersection. As the military started to fire live bullets and used snipers to kill and disperse protesters, the red shirts in the northern province became angry and the situation went out of control.  
 
To express his anger, Kritsada threw several yellow royal flags into the river. His actions were caught on a video, which was later circulated on social networks. Kritsada and his family became the targets of political cyber-bullying by ultra-royalists and faced real-life harassment. 
 
The flag of King Bhumibol's 80th birthday cerebration Photo from Wikipedia
 
Kritsada’s wife testified to the court that she believed her husband did not have the intention to defame the King as it can be seen in the video that he did not cover his face when committing the offences. She added that he was just angry and expressed his anger on whatever yellow objects he found. 
 
On 23 May 2010, the police issued arrest warrants for Kritsada. He then decided to flee the country. However, Kritsada returned and turned himself in because he was worried about his family’s safety. The Chiang Mai police charged him under Article 112, or the lèse majesté law. He has been granted bail. 
 
On 22 May 2014, the day of military coup d’état, the public prosecutor filed the case. 
 
However, in mid 2014, Kritsada became paralyzed on his right side after a cerebral haemorrhage (rupture of a blood vessel in the brain). 
 
On Wednesday 1 October 2014, after testimony by the physician overseeing his case and a psychiatrist who said the defendant could not communicate or perform any mental tasks, the court ruled to temporarily halt the case. 
 
The court scheduled the next meeting to assess the health condition of the defendant for 22 April 2015.