Tom Dundee gets off lese majeste rap
The Criminal Court Thursday threw out a lese majeste lawsuit filed against singer "Tom Dundee" over his remark made during a red-shirt rally in 2011, citing insufficient evidence.
Thanat Thanawatcharanond, 59, better known as Tom Dundee, pleaded guilty to the charge when he was arraigned in court for allegedly insulting the monarchy when he addressed a red shirt protest rally on May 1, 2011, in Lamphun's Muang district.
However, the court said it could not rule against the defendant despite his guilty plea because the prosecution failed to provide evidence to substantiate the charge.
The court moved to dismiss the lawsuit, which is the third of four lese majeste cases lodged against the singer.
Thanat was taken from a prison in Ratchaburi province to hear the ruling at the Criminal Court in Bangkok yesterday. His family and friends were there to greet him.
According to his lawyer Thamrong Lakdaen, four lese majeste lawsuits were filed against his client who was arrested on July 9, 2014.
In the first case, the military court sentenced Thanat to three years and four months in prison for offending the monarchy.
The incident involved the singer's defamatory remarks and gestures against the monarchy at a red-shirt rally in Pathum Thani in early November 2013.
In the second case, the Criminal Court sentenced him to seven and a half years in jail for lese majeste and computer crime offences. It involved his speech on Nov 13, 2013 at a rally in the Lak Si area and the speech was uploaded onto YouTube.
The third case was dismissed yesterday by the court due to insufficient evidence, according to the lawyer.
The fourth lawsuit is pending in the Ratchaburi provincial court which scheduled April 23 for examination of witness lists.
In 2016 when Thanat was serving two years in jail he reportedly said from behind bars that the prison spell had made his reflect on his situation and he wanted to confess to all charges. Thanet said he wanted to sing at reconciliation concerts and support anti-drug and reforestation campaigns once he is released.