Once again the Democrat Party has survived on a legal technicality and once again critics are complaining the Constitution Court failed to consider the evidence against it.
Democrat Party chief adviser Chuan Leekpai, left, and fellow adviser Banyat Bantadtan, right, talk to reporters after the Constitution Court yesterday dismissed a case in which the party was accused of receiving an undisclosed 258 million baht donation. APICHIT JINAKUL
Democrat case thrown out
Court says process was 'not followed properly'
Constitution Court judge Jarun Pukditanakul reads the ruling.
The Democrat Party has again been let off the hook on a technicality.
The Constitution Court yesterday dismissed the case in which the ruling party was accused of receiving an illegal 258 million baht donation from cement giant TPI Polene Plc on the grounds that the process of initiating the case was not followed properly.
The seven judges voted 4:3 to throw out the case, with Jarun Pukditanakul, Charoon Inthachan, Nurak Mapraneet and Supoj Kaimook making up the majority.
The four argued that the Election Commission had not followed accepted legal procedure when it recommended on April 12 that the EC chairman, as the political party registrar, forward the case and evidence to the Office of the Attorney-General for submission to the Constitution Court.
The political party registrar is the only person with the authority to recommend whether a case can go ahead, not the other members of the EC.
The political party registrar did not recommend that there were grounds to dissolve the Democrat Party based on the evidence at hand as required by Section 95 of the Political Party Act.
This meant the submission of the case to the court by the Office of the Attorney-General was unlawful, the judges said. They therefore voted to dismiss the case.
The court said an earlier case in which the Democrat Party was accused of misappropriating 29 million baht in election funds was used as a basis for deliberating the case yesterday as the two were related and were submitted to the court together.
Election commissioner Prapun Naigowit said yesterday the political party registrar might be able to correct the flaws in the donation case so it could be resubmitted to the Constitution Court.
Thida Thavornseth, chair of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said the Constitution Court's ruling had been expected.
"It came as no surprise to us," Ms Thida said.
"Double standards always exist in this country." She said the Constitution Court should explain the ruling and tell the people why it focused only on a legal technicality rather than looking at whether the Democrat Party had committed an offence.
Opposition Puea Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the Democrats could not escape suspicions of wrongdoing as it had not been proven whether or not the party had channelled the donation to its election campaign.
dismiss a case – (of a court of law) to decide that the charges made against a person or organisation are not correct or proper procedures have not been followed and the case should not be taken to court ยกฟ้อง
undisclosed – not reported publicly ไม่เปิดเผย
donation – money or goods that you give to an organisation เงินหรือสิ่งของบริจาค
process – a series of actions that you take in order to achieve a result แนวทางปฏิบัติ, กระบวน, วิธีการ
let off the hook – to free from a difficult situation or a punishment ปล่อยให้เป็นอิสระจาก (ความยุ่งยาก, ความรับผิดชอบ, การตัดสินใจ)
technicality – a small detail in a law or set of rules, especially one that does not seem fair ลักษณะทางเทคนิค, ลักษณะเฉพาะวิช
ruling party – the political party heading the government
illegal – against the law อย่างผิดกฎหมาย
on the grounds – for the reason ด้วยเหตุผลว่า
initiate – to start something or make it start ริเริ่ม
majority – more than 50 percent of a group เสียงส่วนใหญ่
procedure – a way of doing something ขั้นตอนการดำเนินการ
recommend – to advise someone that they should do something แนะนำ
political party registrar – an official whose job is to keep official records on political parties นายทะเบียนพรรคการเมือง
forward – to send onwards ส่งต่อ
evidence – facts statements or objects that help to prove whether or not someone has committed a crime หลักฐาน
Attorney-General – the top legal officer in some countries, who advises the leader of the government อัยการสูงสุด
submission – formally giving something to someone so that can make a decision about it การยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
authority – power อำนาจ
dissolve – to official end a group ยุบพรรค
Act – a law passed by a country’s government พ.ร.บ. พระราชบัญญัติ
base – to use an idea, a fact, a situation, etc. as the point from which something can be developed วางรากฐาน, มาจากรากฐาน
unlawful – against the law ไม่ชอบด้วยกฎหมาย, ผิดกฎหมาย
misappropriate – to use money improperly; to take for yourself money that you are responsible for but that does not belong to you ใช้เงินในทางที่ผิด
basis – the important ideas, facts, or actions from which something can develop – รากฐาน, หลักพื้นฐาน, หลัก
deliberate – to consider carefully, usually before making a decision พิจารณา, ตรึกตรอง
flaw – something wrong with something ข้อบกพร่อง
submit – to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
resubmit – to submit again ยื่นใหม่
chair – to be the person in charge of a meeting, committee, or company ดำรงตำแหน่งประธาน, ทำหน้าที่ในฐานะประธาน
United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) – the group originally formed to demonstrate against the 2006 coup and which supported the Somchai Wongsawat government against the PAD and which is now leading the fight against the current government. They are known for wearing red shirts แนวร่วมประชาธิปไตยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาต
ruling – a decision by a court of law คำตัดสิน คำชี้ขาด
double standard – a rule or standard of good behaviour which, unfairly, some people are expected to follow or achieve but other people are not สองมาตรฐาน
offence – a crime or illegal activity for which there is a punishment การกระทำผิดกฎหมาย
opposition – of a political party that is not part of the government or a group which is against the government ฝ่ายค้าน
suspicion – a belief that a crime has been committed ความสงสัย
channel – to direct something into a particular place or situation ใช้ไปในทาง
campaign – a planned series of activities designed to persuade voters to vote for a particular candidate or political party การรณรงค์หาสียง
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