The Criminal Court has agreed to hear a total of 54 witnesses in a lese majeste and computer crime case brought against Progressive Movement chairman Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, a source said.
Mr Thanathorn is accused of offending the monarchy and government officials during a Facebook Live stream last year criticising Siam Bioscience Co.
Forty-two of the witnesses were viewers who watched the stream on Jan 18 last year and will be testifying for public prosecutors who filed the case while 12 other individuals will testify in defence of Mr Thanathorn, the source said.
Kritsadang Nutcharat, Mr Thanathorn's lawyer, said the 12 witnesses include some experts who are familiar with Siam Bioscience and a number of health officials.
During the session, Mr Thanathorn allegedly mentioned the monarchy, and criticised the government for being too slow in securing vaccine doses for the general population, the source said.
After listening to charges brought against him in court yesterday, Mr Thanathorn pleaded not guilty, saying even though the Facebook account belongs to him, the prosecutor's version of what he said during the stream is not accurate.
He said he is confident that what he actually said during the broadcast was not against the law.
At yesterday's hearing, the prosecution submitted a total of 27 documents and four pieces of evidence to support allegations made against Mr Thanathorn, while the court approved his defence team submitting evidence supporting his case in one month, the source said.
Mr Thanathorn said after the hearing said he has nothing to worry about, noting that Section 112 has from time to time been exploited by the Prayut-Chan-o-cha administration to silence political opponents and anti-government protests.
"A large number of people have faced Section 112 cases. All of these cases were aimed at protecting the power of Gen Prayut at the cost of people's freedom of expression," he said.