Below is a summary of the state of play in Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall criminal and civil prosecutions.
Case 1 Attorney General/Natural Fruit vs Andy Hall: Aljazeera Yangon interview criminal defamation charge petitioned originally by Natural Fruit at Bangna police station and accepted for prosecution by Attorney General and Prakanong Public Prosecutor (max. 1 year imprisonment as sentence if convicted) – trial complete 2nd to 10th September 2014 Prakanong Court, 29th Oct 2014 court then dismissed case due to unlawful prosecution. Attorney General and Natural Fruit appealed decision already to Appeals Court reportedly in December 2014, decision on appeal expected late 2015 or early 2016, no further hearings expected prior to decision on appeal
Case 2 Natural Fruit vs. Andy Hall: Finnwatch report Computer Crimes Act and criminal defamation charges petitioned at Bangkok South Criminal Court (max. 7 years imprisonment as sentence if convicted) – 5 main preliminary hearings already took place at Bangkok South Criminal Court on 17th Nov 2014, 2nd Feb 2015, 16th Mar 2015, 20th April 15 and 14th May 15. Accused was not in attendance at hearings but lawyers represented the accused at the hearings. Natural Fruit is able to produce its own witnesses to the court during preliminary stage hearings to try to convince the court to indict the defendant and hear the case in full. Defense lawyers have the opportunity to cross-examine prosecution witnesses if they desire. So far in 5 preliminary hearings Natural Food has called factory management, owners, staff, migrant workers, academics and other concerned parties. Next 6th preliminary hearing of case scheduled for 20th July 15. Decision on whether to indict the defendant or not expected perhaps from Aug to Dec 15 following which if the court proceeds with the case, the accused would be formally indicted, charged and detained, can apply for bail and then case would eventually begin hearing perhaps in 2016.
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 reportedly not lawfully delivered to defendant, 21st Nov 2014 hearing took place and scheduled next hearing in case for Mar 23rd 2015. In May 2015 the hearing again took place and court/prosecution reportedly informed that the summons documents had not yet been successfully served on the accused in Myanmar. The court adjourned the next hearing on the case to 16th Nov 2015 to allow adequate time for the summons and documents to be formally served on the defendant.
No more new cases yet….