Court upholds sentences for Yingluck-defaming Democrats

Court upholds sentences for Yingluck-defaming Democrats

One of the sentenced Democrats, Sirichok Sopha, right, at the Criminal Court in Bangkok last October in relation to the defamation case involving former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. (File photo)
One of the sentenced Democrats, Sirichok Sopha, right, at the Criminal Court in Bangkok last October in relation to the defamation case involving former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. (File photo)

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the suspended one-year jail sentences and 50,000-baht fines handed down to three Democrat politicians for defaming former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra during their TV programme.

The three had implied that Yingluck Shinawatra dodged a parliamentary session to have an affair at a hotel.

The Supreme Court's decision was read out to former Democrat MPs Sirichok Sopha, Chavanont Intarakomalyasut and Thepthai Senapong at the Criminal Court on Thursday.

The case concerned comments they made while hosting their regular Sai Lor Far programme on Feb 10 and 15, 2012, aired on the Democrat-affiliated Bluesky station.

The Supreme Court upheld the decision of the Appeal Court, which upheld the original judgement delivered by the Criminal Court. The Supreme Court rejected Yingluck's petition to withdraw her appeal against the suspension of their sentence, because it had already settled on its ruling when it was lodged.

The Supreme Court ruled that the comments made on the TV programme implied that Yingluck, who already had a husband and a son, had dodged a parliamentary session on Feb 8, 2012, to have an affair with a man at the Four Seasons Hotel in Bangkok. The comments were unfair.

The court suspended the jail term because Yingluck, as a national administrator, should have shown transparency but had never explained the matter to the public. Only during the trial did she reveal she had a business meeting with a property developer.

If true, there was no reason to keep the activity secret and raise suspicions, the court ruled. The court saw the three men had good intentions and therefore suspended the jail term for two years.

The three politicians were at the court on Thursday for the ruling.

Yingluck fled the country in August 2017, shortly before the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced her to a five-year jail term for failing to stop corruption in her rice-pledging scheme even though she had been made aware of it.


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