The Court of Appeals yesterday commuted sentences handed down to 79 men convicted of breaking into state-owned TV station NBT in 2008, with most offenders given shorter terms of six to eight months.
Three were juveniles at the time and were given three months in jail.
Criminal Courts in December 2010 sentenced 85 people led by Thanet Khamchumall and supporters of the People’s Alliance for Democracy to more than a year in prison depending on their roles in the break-in. Thanet was sentenced to two years-and-six months by the lower court.
Lawyer Nitithorn Lamlua posted Bt200,000 in bail for each, after they decided to challenge the Court of Appeals’ verdict. The court yesterday approved arrest warrants for six defendants who failed to appear in court.
Eighty-five were charged with conspiring to commit criminal association, conspiring to assault and instigate riots, using force to assault and break into premises of others and carrying arms in the night, causing damage to assets, coercing others, inflicting fear and jeopardising life, liberty and assets by using arms.
The court said yesterday the plaintiff had failed to provide concrete evidence that Thanet had a lead role in the incident and failed to produce evidence showing who damaged state property. The court ruled that the defendants were guilty of intimidating NBT officials because they broke in carrying arms. The court also ruled that the defendants were not guilty of conspiracy to commit criminal association because the plaintiff failed to produce evidence that the group had made a plan to break into the building.
The court ruled that the defendants committed transgression, carried arms and threatened to assault. It sentenced Thanet to one year and four months and others to between six to eight months in jail.