Prakanong Court in Bangkok today announced that the ruling on the appeal by both the Attorney General/Public Prosecutor and Natural Fruit Company Ltd. against Prakanong Court’s dismissal of criminal defamation charges against Andy Hall, in relation to an interview he gave to Aljazeera English in Yangon, shall now be read at Prakanong Court at 930am on Friday 18th September 2015. The defendant Andy Hall is required to attend the court in person to hear the verdict. More details below…
Case Number: No. 2051/2557
Case Type: Criminal Defamation Prosecution Initiated by Natural Fruit Company Ltd.
Defendant: Mr Andy Hall
Court: Prakanong Court, Bangkok (investigating authority Bangna Police Station)
Case Claims: Defamation
Case Submission: In July 2013, Natural Fruit Company Ltd. prosecuted Andy Hall for criminal defamation for an interview he undertook with Aljazeera’s correspondent Wayne Hayes at the Inya Lake Hotel, Yangon, Myanmar.
Case details Attorney General/Natural Fruit Company Ltd. vs Andy Hall
Concerns an Aljazeera video interview given by Andy Hall to Aljazeera correspondent Wayne Hay in Yangon, Myanmar in April 2013. A criminal defamation charge relating to this interview, broadcast by Aljazeera, was filed originally by Natural Fruit Company Ltd. management and their lawyers at Bangna police station in Bangkok in July 2013. The charge has a maximum of 1 years imprisonment as penalty/sentence if convicted. At this time Andy Hall was a resident of Myanmar.
Hall voluntary attended for questioning on the charge at Bangna Police Station in September 2013 and allegedly was asked to sign a confession despite expressing verbally his intent to plead not guilty to all the charges. He refused to sign any documents and left the police station. Andy Hall then again attended the police station voluntarily in May 2014 to give another statement, again pleading not guilty to all the charges after which the police officer in charge of the case formally typed up the statement and Andy Hall signed the statement to confirm his not guilty plea.
On 18th June 2014, this case filed by Natural Fruit Company Ltd. was formally accepted for prosecution by the Attorney General and Prakanong Public Prosecutor. Andy Hall was on the same day charged, detained in a holding cell at the court and then released on a 50, 000 Baht bail (provided jointly by the Thai Frozen Foods Association and the Thai Tuna Industry Association).
Following detention, Andy Hall’s passport was confiscated and his freedom to leave Thailand blocked at all official border crossings. The block could be lifted only if permission to leave the country was granted by the court, on a case by case basis. Permission was granted for Andy Hall to leave the country for all but one request.
The trial on this case/charges was undertaken from 2nd to 10th Sept. 2014 at Prakanong Court (6 days of hearings). On 10th Sept. 2014 after an official representation to the Prakanong Court by the UK Embassy following Andy Hall’s request, Andy’s passport was returned into his possession but the block on leaving the country remained in place.
On 29th Oct 2014, Prakanong Court dismissed the case against Andy Hall citing unlawful investigation/prosecution as the basis for its decision. Andy’s passport was returned to him and he was again allowed to freely travel in and out of Thailand.
The Attorney General and Natural Fruit appealed the case dismissal decision to the Appeals Court in Jan. 2015. A decision on this appeal will take place on Friday 18th Sept. 2015 at Prakanong Court, commencing at 930am.