Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Da Torpedo wins appeal

Political activisit Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, alias Da Torpedo

The Appeals Court on Wednesday voided the jail sentence handed down by the Criminal Court on Daranee Charnchoengsilpakul, alias Da Torpedo, for lese majeste on the grounds her petition for a Constitution Court ruling on legal procedures had not been forwarded to the court for consideration.

Daranee was accused of lese majeste in connection with her speeches made at red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) rallies at Sanam Luang on Jan 18, June 7 and June 13, 2008.

The prosecutors, citing Section 177 of the Criminal Procedures Code, asked the Criminal Court to hold the trial in camera and not to allow the people to attend court hearings, reasoning that the case involved the high institution and might affect national security.

Daranee submitted a petition to the court, saying that the prosecutors' request contravened Sections 29 and 40 of the constitution, which provide for an open trial. She asked the Criminal Court to forward her petition to the Constitution Court to rule whether the prosecutors' request was constitutional.

The Criminal Court did not forward her petition to the Constitution Court, but went ahead with the trial and convicted and sentenced Daranee to 18 years in prison on Aug 28, 2009.

Daranee took the case to the Appeal Court.

The Appeals Court announced today it had ruled in her favour and annulled the jail sentence.

The Criminal Court will forward her original petition to the Constitution Court for a ruling whether the prosecutors' request for the trial to be held in camera under Section 177 of the Criminal Procedures Code contravenes Sections 29 and 40 of the constitution.

If the Constitution Court rules in favour of Daranee, the prosecution can request a fresh trial. The charge was not dismissed.

Pending the Constitution Court's ruling, Daranee can request release on bail. The decision rests with the Criminal Court.

UDD chair Thida Thavornseth today filed a fresh request with the Criminal Court for the release on bail of seven red-shirt co-leaders being detained on terrorism charges in Bangkok Remand Prison. Mrs Thida, accompanied by lawyer Narinpong Jinapak, president of the Lawyers Association, offered 600,000 baht as surety for each of the seven suspects: Natthawut Saikua, Weng Tojirakarn, Korkaew Pikulthong, Nisit Sinthuprai, Kwanchai Sarakham, Wiphuthalaeng Pattanaphumthai and Yoswaris Chuklom or Jeng Dokchik. The UDD chair, who is the wife of Dr Weng, said she lowered the surety from three million baht to 600,000 baht because Chaiwat Sinsuwong, a suspect on terrorism charges in connection with the People's Alliance for Democracy's blockade of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in late 2008, was granted bail with 600,000 baht surety. The court was considering the request.

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