MPs can look into judge's 'suicide bid', but not interfere

MPs can look into judge's 'suicide bid', but not interfere

House committees have the authority to look into the apparent courtroom suicide bid by Judge Khanakorn Pianchana, but they must steer clear of his case ruling, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Wednesday.

His warning came after the House committee on legal affairs, justice and human rights prepared to probe the shooting and review the judge's claim of interference in the case he had been presiding over.

Mr Wissanu said the panel chaired by Future Forward Party (FFP) secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul and others could launch an inquiry into the incident but it must not cover the verdict.

Mr Khanakorn shot himself after acquitting all five defendants of shooting to death five people in Yala's Bannang Sata district in June last year. He cited lack of evidence as the reason for his ruling.

Mr Wissanu said the House inquiry should not result in interference in the judiciary by the legislative branch. He urged the panel not to use its investigation as an opportunity to examine or attack the judiciary.

"The objective of this investigation is to explain what happened in the self-shooting case. It is not a pretext to grill the judiciary," said Mr Wissanu.

On Tuesday, Mr Piyabutr said the committee was duty-bound to look into the case to improve and preserve the credibility of the judiciary.

Mr Piyabutr said Mr Khanakorn's case showed that rules and regulations governing trial procedures must be amended to prevent judicial interference.

Meanwhile, the Institute for Justice Reform yesterday called on the Supreme Court president and the Judicial Commission to launch an inquiry into whether the regional chief judge's examination of the ruling violated Section 188 (2) of the charter, which deals with the martial law that prevails in insurgency-hit Yala.

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