Future Forward Party to pitch amendments to trial laws

Future Forward Party to pitch amendments to trial laws

'Independence' from influence a priority

Sarawut Benjakul, secretary-general of the Office of the Judiciary, visits judge Khanakorn Pianchana at Yala Hospital on Sunday.
Sarawut Benjakul, secretary-general of the Office of the Judiciary, visits judge Khanakorn Pianchana at Yala Hospital on Sunday.

Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul says he will raise the issue of the self-shooting by Judge Khanakorn Pianchana at a meeting of the House committee on Legal Affairs, Justice, and Human Rights on Wednesday.

Mr Piyabutr said that in his capacity as the committee's chairman, he will bring information and documents related to the matter before the committee for consideration. He said the judge's claim of interference in a case he had been presiding over has warranted his attention.

He said the committee will examine facts and information regarding the shooting, and consider the judge's calls for rules and regulations governing trial procedures to be amended to ensure judges are able to work independently of influence and pressures from inside and outside their organisations.

The committee will also draw up proposals for legal amendments to address the issue, Mr Piyabutr said. He insisted that the committee was not trying to interfere with the justice system, but that the committee is duty-bound to look into the case in order to improve and preserve the credibility of the judiciary.

Mr Khanakorn shot himself last Friday afternoon after giving a ruling and addressing the court in a speech that he reportedly broadcast live on Facebook. The shooting is believed to be related to alleged judicial interference in the case, which saw the judge acquit five defendants charged with the shooting of five people in Yala's Bannang Sata district in June last year.

Suriyan Hongvilai, spokesman of the Office of the Judiciary, on Tuesday explained the procedure for judges to deliver a ruling, saying the regional chief judge's examination of a ruling was not an act of interference. He said that the regional chief judge is authorised by law to examine and dispute a ruling by a court of first instance in cases involving security, terrorism, and offences which have penalties of over 10 years, life imprisonment or death penalties.

However, if the judging panel stands by its ruling and the regional chief judge cannot force the judging panel to reverse its decision, Mr Suriyan said. The regional chief judge can only offer his differing view as an addendum to the ruling in the event an appeal was lodged, he said.

The FFP on Tuesday chronicled incidents leading up to the self-shooting on its Facebook page. The party claimed that it had obtained information from those present in the courtroom at the Yala Provincial Court. According to the FFP, after Mr Khanakorn shot himself, officers from the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc) allegedly tampered with his mobile phone and erased some posts from his Facebook page.

The FFP also urged all involved to disclose footage from security cameras in the courtroom as well as footage from Mr Khanakorn's live broadcast to show what happened on that day. A 25-page document that Mr Khanakorn allegedly posted on his Facebook page before he shot himself also reportedly disappeared.


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