Lèse majesté case against Prachatai poster dropped

The Criminal Court has dropped the case against a woman alleged to have posted offensive messages on the Prachatai webboard in 2008, citing inconclusive evidence, thus giving her the benefit of the doubt. 

On 31 Jan, the Criminal Court dismissed the case against Miss A, 28, who was alleged to have used the alias Bento to post messages offensive to the Queen and the Crown Prince on the Prachatai webboard in October 2008, in violation of Section 112 of the Criminal Code and Section 14 of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.

According to the court ruling, the investigators found that the internet service and telephone number were registered under the name of the defendant’s mother, and were used for her family’s business. 

Although the defendant’s notebook computer contained information pertaining to the Prachatai website, no evidence was found to show that the messages had been posted through that computer, the court said.

The court went on to say that the defendant was arrested in a police raid, so she could not have deleted the information.  The prosecutor merely checked the IP address with Prachatai and the internet service provider, and this was not sufficient evidence.  There was no witness who could confirm that the defendant posted the messages.  The defendant’s residence was a factory which had several computers with internet connections, and it was not known which one was used for the posting.  Several employees could have used the computers. 

The court cited the testimony of a defence witness, an IT expert from Australia, who said that any sophisticated computer user could fake an IP address.  Therefore, it was possible that the IP address had been faked.

Unconvinced by the evidence, the court gave the defendant the benefit of the doubt, and dismissed the case.

Miss A was arrested on 30 Jan 2009, and was detained at the Central Women’s Detention Centre for about 10 days before being granted bail.  Her alleged offence was also used against Prachatai Director Chiranuch Premchaiporn as the 10th charge against her under Section 15 of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.  Chiranuch’s trial will begin on 4 Feb.

Prachatai has withheld the defendant’s real name at her own strong request. 


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