Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Acquittal appeal demand tests charter: ex-Commissioner

Aug 04. 2017
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By The Nation

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Thailand’s former anti-corruption commissioner said on Friday that the charter’s spirit will be tested by the acquittal of four top officials this week.

Vicha Mahakun, said the attempt to appeal the Supreme Court's acquittal of former PM Somchai Wongsawat and three other top officials, including his deputy, would be the first test of whether the new charter's spirit applied to the right of appeal in a criminal case.

The new charter allows concerned parties, both plaintiffs and defendants to appeal in a criminal case.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) is under pressure by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) to appeal against the case. The commission will have 30 days to look through the judicial decision, Vicha said. He suggested people to be calm and read thoroughly the court ruling before submitting an appeal.

The Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders on Wednesday acquitted Somchai Wongsawat, his deputy Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, then-police chief Pol-General Patcharawat Wongsuwan, and then-Metropolitan police chief Pol-Lieutenant-General Suchart Muenkaew. The four defendants were found not guilty in regard to the police crackdown on yellow-shirt protesters in October 2008 that left two people dead and more than 400 injured.

The PAD, which led the protesters at that time, held a press briefing announcing their intent to petition to the NACC to appeal the verdict, claiming constitutional rights to do so.

NACC President Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit has already ordered his officers to read though the verdict, Vicha said.

The commission must thoroughly understand the verdict before it can decide whether to make an appeal, he said.

Vicha also asserted that the previous NACC, which worked on the case against Somchai’s bloc, had done good work on the case. “There can be different opinions among legal officers,” he said. “Justice can be viewed from various angles but must be finalized by the court’s verdict”.

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