Historic court case: Three Thaksin’s lawyers jailed คำพิพากษาประวัติศาสตร์ ทนายทักษิณติดคุก

26 06 2008

I remember I wrote about the 2 million baht for a snack that the three lawyers working for ex-rpemier Thaksin Shinawatra (on the land case where both Mr. Thaksin and his wife are accused of using political influence to buy a block of land on Ratchadapisek Road) handed a snace box containing two million baht to a c-7 court official on June 10. I provided two theories which are the attempts of the ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s lawyers to discredit judges or a daring attempt to bribe court officials.

The Supreme Court on 25 June found that this is the most daring bribery case in Thailand history as the incident took place at the Supreme Court. The three lawyers’ behaviour was considered as an attempt to bribe court officials and the court ordered them to prison for six months without appeal. They also face criminal charges under Article 144 of the Criminal Code. Secreatry-General to the Lawyers Council Sa-ngiam Boonchan expressed that the three lawyers face disciplinary action by the council. This can be considered the end of their career – as they are expected to get the most serious disciplinary action – expulsion.

It is quite interesting in the argument they gave to the court. They said that they intended to offer snack to court official but the person who collected the box from the car took the wrong box. The two million baht was the deposit money they received on the day. However, the court rebutted that a sncak bok was tightly wrapped with duct tape and considered it “as an attempt to persuade (others) to commit an offence”. The court also said that they should have placed the snack box in an open room where others could see if his motives were sound.

Let’s assume that we have a court case and we meet court officials very often and became friend. We might like to offer sweet or snack to them. What will we do? We would buy a snack box and hand it to them publicly. A box might be sealed with transparent tape. To me, it is unacceptable and rather unprofessional for the three lawyers to say that they did not know what was inside the box when handed the box contained whichever to court officials.

The court order has restored public trust and confidence in the judiciary. The independence of judges eroded markedly under Thaksin regime. Since the case is closely linked to a land case against the ex-premier and his wife, it would be interesting to see how the recent court ruling will affect the Ratchada land case of which the next plaintiff witness hearing is cheduled for July 8 and the court ruling will be on 30 July.


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