Democrat acquitted in Thaksin 'ghost' lawsuit

Democrat acquitted in Thaksin 'ghost' lawsuit

The Criminal Court on Tuesday acquitted Democrat Thepthai Senpong of defamation in comparing former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to a ghost trying to return to its host body, nearly a decade ago.

Thepthai Senapong

In 2006, Thaksin had his lawyer file a defamation suit against the Democrat Party and then-MP Thepthai.

The charge arose from comments Mr Thepthai made to the press from May 17 to 19, 2006 -- that Thaksin was like a ghost trying to return to its host body, or phi pob.

Thaksin, then prime minister, dissolved the House on Feb 24, 2006, just before a censure debate amid corruption allegations against his government. The subsequent general election was on April 2, with his then Thai Rak Thai Party hoping to return to government.

On May 8 that year the Constitutional Court nullified the election because it was called too soon and small political parties were hired to pretend to compete with Thai Rak Thai candidates, to ensure their victory, after the Democrats boycotted the polls.

The Criminal Court ruled that Mr Thepthai had only communicated political developments to the public at that time, and had not defamed Thaksin.

Mr Thepthai, who appeared at the court, said the Criminal Court had earlier dismissed the lawsuit, but  the Appeals Court later ordered the Criminal Court to accept it for trial.

Mr Thepthai is a former Democrat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat and former private spokesman for  Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva.

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