Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall Computer Crimes Case Hearing to Continue on Mar 16th

February 3rd, 2015

The preliminary hearing of British human rights activist Andy Hall is set to continue in mid-March, after the one planned for yesterday (Feb. 2) was cut short due to a court scheduling conflict.

The charges in this second case of four brought against Hall by pineapple processor Natural Fruit Company relate to the Computer Crimes Act and criminal defamation charges.

The first defamation case which took place last year was dismissed in the Prakanong Court in Bangkok, however the fruit manufacturing company has since appealed the decision.

Hall told http://www.freshfruitportal.com the preliminary hearing that was initially scheduled for a full day on Monday only ended up taking place from 9am until 12pm, and largely involved the cross-examination of the Natural Fruit senior management representative.

The next preliminary hearing is due to take place on March 16.

The campaigner last week said this second case was ‘quite confusing‘, as it appeared he was being charged for actions taken by Finnish civic organization Finnwatch.

“The strange thing from what we’ve seen is that they’re charging me with the Computer Crimes Act…it seems they’re charging me in terms of the Finnwatch report and letters that Finnwatch published on the internet; I never published any of those letters on the internet,” Hall said.

The third case involving civil defamation charges has been postponed pending the verdict of this second case as it contains the same substantive issues.

http://www.freshfruitportal.com/2015/02/03/thailand-andy-halls-preliminary-hearing-to-continue-in-march/?country=others

SEE ALSO:

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/464528/activist-hall-back-in-court-in-2nd-fruit-firm-defamation-case

Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall Computer Crimes/Criminal Defamation Hearing Mon 2nd Feb, Bangkok

The 2nd preliminary hearing in the Computer Crimes Act and criminal defamation prosecution of migrant rights activist and Finnwatch researcher Andy Hall by Natural Fruit Co Ltd. will take place on Monday 2nd February all day at room 406 of Bangkok South Criminal Court on Charoen Nakhon Rd.

At this hearing, the prosecution is expected to continue its examination of its first witness, a member of the Natural Fruit senior management. Following cross examination by defence lawyers for Andy Hall, the prosecution is then expected to move onto cross examination of its second witness, a retired police officer representing Natural Fruit Co. Ltd. at a Foreign Correspondent’s Club of Thailand (FCCT) launch of Finnwatch’s research report ‘Cheap has a High Price’ on 21st January 2013.

The 2013 FCCT event and Finnwatch report form part of the evidence utilised by Natural Fruit in bringing this case prosecution against Andy Hall, contracted as a short term researcher for Natural Fruit Co Ltd.

The criminal charges against Andy Hall, just one of four civil and criminal cases against him, can result in a maximum of 7 years imprisonment.

Natural Fruit Appeals Court’s Dismissal of Charges Against Andy Hall

http://www.finnwatch.org/en/news/276-natural-fruit-appeals-court’s-dismissal-of-charges

Natural Fruit Appeals Court’s Dismissal of Charges

Published: 31 December 2014

Photo: Tomi Westerholm/Unionimedia

Natural Fruit Appeals Court’s Dismissal of Aljazeera Interview Criminal Defamation Charges Against Finnwatch Researcher Andy Hall.

Finnwatch and migration researcher/activist Andy Hall have been informed that on December 24th to 26th, Natural Fruit Company Ltd. and Thailand’s Attorney General both appealed Prakanong courts October 2014 dismissal as unlawful of Aljazeera interview criminal defamation charges filed against Andy Hall in July 2013.

According to Thai law, Natural Fruit and the Attorney General have a right to appeal the decision that was given on 29th of October 2014.

Prakanong Court dismissed the case against Andy Hall reasoning that an unlawful interrogation process was undertaken not in accordance with section 120 of Thailand’s Criminal Procedure Code.

– We are disappointed to see that Natural Fruit is not going to stop its judicial harassment. The company continues to try its best to cause damage and inconvenience to Andy Hall and Finnwatch by keeping these cases going, says Sonja Vartiala, Executive Director of Finnwatch.

International experts and rights groups have condemned Natural Fruit’s lawsuits against Andy Hall. According to ICTUR’s trial observation report, the first Aljazeera interview criminal trial against Andy Hall was actually not fair, despite the eventual dismissal of the charges. Prosecution for example failed to make full disclosure to Mr Hall of all evidence available to the prosecution side before the trial.

“There was no prima facie case as all of the conduct complained off took place outside of the territorial limits of Thailand,” said Barrister Mark Plunkett in ICTUR’s report. ICTUR’s report also states that Mr. Hall had a complete defence to the charges and deserved to be acquitted on the merits.

During the first criminal trial, Prakanong court heard amongst many other witnesses from a former Natural Fruit worker who testified under oath confirming that the company was hiring underaged workers, paying unlawfully low salaries, making random deductions and hiring undocumented workers.

– Natural Fruit’s case against Andy Hall has no merit. It is unfortunate that the company will be able to drag the case on by appealing, says Vartiala

The usual process for an appeal in such a criminal case in Thailand should be as follows:

(1) Appeals court will ask Andy Hall to write his own claim on the appeal submitted already to Prakanong Court. Prakanong Court then sends all documents to the Appeals Court whose judges will consider all documents and make a judgement. Appeal decisions can take a long time, even years.

(2) Once the Appeals Court issues its judgement, it will be sent back to Prakanong Court, which then makes an appointment for both sides to come and listen to the judgement on the appeal at the Court.

(3) Natural Fruit Company Ltd, the Attorney General and Andy Hall can continue appealing the case judgement to the Supreme Court.

ICTUR publishes report on court observation Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall criminal case

For the full report please see:

http://www.ictur.org/pdf/Plunkett.pdf

AND

http://www.ictur.org/Eng/Plunkett.html

Update: Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall State of Play in Criminal/Civil Cases

Below is a brief update of the Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall criminal/civil case prosecution summary timelines/updated processes….

—–

Case 1 Attorney General/Natural Fruit vs Andy Hall: Aljazeera Yangon interview criminal defamation charge (max. 1 year imprisonment as sentence if convicted) – trial complete 2nd to 10th September 2014, 29th Oct 2014 court then dismissed case due to unlawful prosecution, reports Attorney General and Natural Fruit to appeal and court recently granted extension until end of Dec 2014 to lodge appeal, next hearing not likely until 2015

Case 2 Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall: Finnwatch report Computer Crimes Act and criminal defamation charges (max. 7 years imprisonment as sentence if convicted) – preliminary hearing took place on 17th Nov 2014, next preliminary hearing continuation session scheduled for 2nd Feb 2015

Case 3 Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall: Finnwatch report 300 million baht civil defamation/damages claim case – negotiation between 2 parties failed on 30th Oct 2014, court postponed consideration of case until verdict of Case 2 given as case concerns substance similar

Case 4 Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall: Aljazeera yangon interview 100 million baht civil defamation/damages claim case – summons not lawfully delivered to defendant, 21st Nov 2014 hearing took place and scheduled next hearing in case for March 23rd 2015

No more new cases yet….

Southern Bangkok Criminal Court Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall case next hearing set as 2nd Feb 2015

On 17th Nov, was preliminary criminal defamation/computer crimes hearing #naturalfruit vs Andy Hall, only time for 1 prosecution witness testimony during the afternoon session. Southern BKK criminal court therefore appointed both sides to continue preliminary hearing (cross examine prosecution witness 1/others) on 2nd Feb 2015. As next hearings into #naturalfruit criminal cases against me not until Feb 2015 & my passport with me, free for Christmas and New Year :-)

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