Justice denied

1 05 2021

Wasant Techawongtham at the Bangkok Post has a direct and useful op-ed on the (in)justice system and the contortions required of judges who ignore law and constitution. It is worth reading in full. Here are some bits we think need emphasis.

A request for bail for pro-democracy protesters languishing in jail was rejected for the ninth time on Thursday.

Oddly, the decision by an Appeal Court judge was delivered after hours in one terse sentence as a throng of angry young protesters gathered on the steps of the court house.

One imagines that the delay was caused by the judge needing to get his orders, and we suspect that those orders were considered at the very highest level.

No justice

A number of legal experts have watched the cases with dismay. The infringement of the jailed activists’ rights and the court’s multiple bail denials trouble them.

On bail:

Prinya Thaewanarumitkul, a law professor and a vice rector of Thammasat University, argues that denying bail for cases still pending trial should be the exception, not the norm.

According to the constitution and Article 107 of the Criminal Code, an accused must be assumed innocent during a trial and granted bail unless conditions exist as stipulated by Article 108/1.

Said conditions include: (1) if the accused poses a flight risk; (2) if the accused could interfere with witnesses or evidence; (3) if the accused poses harmful threats; (4) if bail guarantors or bonds are not trustworthy; and (5) if temporary release poses obstacles or harm to ongoing official investigations.

Other reasons often cited to deny bail, such as the charges in question incurring severe penalties, the accused’s conduct is serious, or the accused could repeat the offences, if released, do not fall within the parameters of the law.

Wasant refers to “practices used by the authorities against the jailed protesters [that] are disturbing“:

…Posting a prison official in the room where the lawyer and his client discuss their case is evidently beyond the pale.

Breaches of lawyer-client privilege even took place within the court room as officials insisted on inspecting documents passed between the lawyers and their clients.

One of the most troubling developments … is the barring of all persons, including the mothers and close relatives, except the lawyers and their clients from the court room in recent hearings.

He goes on to refer to “”legal shambles,”the “oppressive weight of an unfair system bent on breaking their spirits and subjugating them…”. It is a system that is unable to dispense justice.


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