The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a programer not guilty of lese majeste related to Facebook posts.
The Supreme Court ruled to affirm the decisions of the Court of First Instance and the Appeal Court, to acquit Surapak P. on charges of creating a lèse majesté Facebook page, parodying the oath of succession of the monarch.
In March 2014, the Appeal Court handed down the decision, saying that the evidence was not strong enough.
Surapak P., a programmer, was charged under Article 112, the lèse majesté law, and Article 14 of the Computer-related Crime Act 2007, for importing illegal messages into a computer system. He was accused of posting five lese majeste posts in total.
In 2011, a group of royalist Internet users tipped off police that they suspected Surapak was the owner of an email, firstname.lastname@example.org
. When this address was googled, one of the search results was a Facebook page named “I shall reign with XXXX.”
It is not clear how the group and the police found the connection other than by googling.
The phrase parodies the royal oath of succession, "I shall reign with righteousness for the benefit and happiness of the Siamese people." The word “coup” is inserted into the phrase as a parody.
Surapak was arrested in September 2011. On the day of the arrest, the police confiscated a notebook computer and several other computer devices.
He was repeatedly denied bail until the Court of First Instance read the verdict.
Surapak’s lawyer, Thitipong Srisaen, successfully proved to the court that the prime evidence, the defendant’s computer, was contaminated when in the care of the police. Thus, the evidence against him was not sound.
The Court of First Instance ruled in October 2012 that the trace of the dorkao email in the computer was created after the computer was confiscated. The computer had been turned on after the confiscation. The evidence, therefore, was not reliable.
Surapak was released after the Court of First Instance acquitted him. He was in prison for about one year and one month.