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On 10 Oct, Joe Gordon pleaded guilty at the Criminal Court after having been detained without bail for 139 days.

The Thai-born American citizen was arrested by the Department of Special Investigation in late May this year for allegedly translating the banned book ‘The King Never Smiles’ and placing links to download the translation on the internet, violating the lèse majesté law and the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.

Joe, 54, told the court, ‘I will not fight the case, and plead guilty’.

Previously he had denied all the charges.

The court then gave probation officers 20 days to investigate his previous behaviour, and set 9 November for the verdict.

It said that the defendant could seek bail during this time.

Those who attended the court hearing included US Consul General Elizabeth Pratt, other officials from the US Embassy, students and foreign reporters.

According to Joe’s Lawyer Anon Nampha, the defendant will seek a royal pardon after the court gives its ruling.

He said that normally the court would order an inquiry into a defendant’s past behaviour when considering cases where the defendant had no previous record, and would give a suspended sentence.  But he had never seen such a sentence in a lèse majesté case.

The lawyer and the defendant’s friends offered 700,000 baht in cash as bail, citing his health problems including high blood pressure and gout.  This was the 10th attempt to seek bail after his arrest.

Joe Gordon is keen on photography, painting and playing acoustic guitar.  He had art exhibits in the US where he had lived for 30 years.  He co-wrote songs with Nga Caravan, and took part in the production of the movie Thong Pan in 1976, which was about people in the northeast who were affected by dam constructions. 

Joe Gordon (in the middle) carrying a sound recorder during the filming of Thong Pan

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