KHON KAEN : The Criminal Court yesterday sentenced a red-shirt supporter to jail for two years for his involvement in a protest at a local office of the Public Relations Department (PRD) in May 2010.
Udom Khammool was convicted of illegal assembly and inciting chaos in connection with the unrest at the Channel 11 office on May 19, 2010.
The court gave him one year in jail for the offence, and an extra two years for breaching the emergency situation law in place at that time.
However, based on Udom's useful statements during police questioning and the trial, the court reduced the prison term from three years to two years, without suspension.
"The nation was in a deep crisis, but the defendant had no respect for the law. To deter others [from following his example] the court decided not to suspend the sentence," the court said.
The prosecution had also indicted Udom for making preparations for an arson attack on the PRD's office but the court dismissed the charge for a lack of evidence.
The unrest culminated in the torching of the PRD's office, causing more than 222 million baht in damage.
Prayong Kaewfainok, the defence lawyer, said an appeal was unlikely as it would take time, and his client had already spent 14 months behind bars.
"In less than a year he will complete his jail term," he said.
Meanwhile, the Criminal Court will hold the first prosecution witness hearing in a terrorism case against 24 red-shirt leaders today, after earlier postponing the hearing from yesterday.
The postponement was sought by red-shirt lawyer Winyat Chartmontri after two defendants failed to show up.
One of the pair, Nattawut Saikuar, also deputy commerce minister, yesterday accompanied Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on a trip to Pattani province.
The other, Charan Loypoon, is being detained in Ayutthaya prison on charges of attempted murder and violating the Firearms Act.
The hearing was postponed to today, starting at 9am.
The court asked authorities to seek Charan's temporary release from Ayutthaya prison so he could attend the hearing.
It also said Mr Nattawut would face an arrest warrant if he failed to show up today.
The other defendants include Veerakan Musikapong, Jatuporn Prompan, Weng Tojirakarn, and Korkaew Pikulthong, who were charged with terrorism for their role in the red-shirt protests during March-May 2010.