Thaksin’s Covid infection on date of indictment ‘just a coincidence’


The chief defence lawyer of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra insisted on Wednesday that his client had contracted Covid-19 and the illness happened to coincide with the indictment date.

Winyat Chartmontree, the lawyer authorised by Thaksin to acknowledge the order on his behalf, was speaking to reporters at the Office of the Attorney-General after the indictment was postponed to June 18.

The Army has accused Thaksin of defaming the monarchy in his interview with South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper in 2015. Thaksin had allegedly claimed that the country’s privy councillors had supported the 2014 coup staged by General Prayut Chan-o-cha to oust the government of his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Following an appeal for fairness, the attorney-general’s office delayed its order on the case to Monday. Winyat informed the public prosecutors that his client could not hear the indictment as he was infected with Covid. The attorney-general decided to indict Thaksin for lese majeste and computer crime violation and ordered the former PM to meet public prosecutors for arraignment on June 18.

Winyat said nobody could predict when a person could fall ill.
He said Thaksin might have been infected by the virus during his visit to Nakhon Ratchasima province on May 25.

Winyat said he had a medical certificate from a leading medical institute to prove Thaksin was really ill. He said no medical institute would take a chance of issuing a fake certificate.

The lawyer added that Thaksin would be required to meet public prosecutors on June 18 but he could not predict whether he would be able to be present or not.

“Let’s wait and see on that day,” Winyat said.

Winyat said the defence would prove to the court that the clip used as evidence against Thaksin was doctored, and not the original one.

Winyat said it was “illogical” for the public prosecutors to use a clip from the internet as evidence without cross-checking with the South Korean media first.

He said the defence team would also challenge the public prosecutors to prove how Thaksin had uploaded false information into the computer system as he was not the person who had uploaded the clip.

Winyat added that he would immediately seek Thaksin’s release on bail when he is charged in court on June 18.