64 year-old woman found guilty of lèse majesté for stepping on image of the King

The Thai Criminal Court found Thitinan K. guilty of lèse majesté and sentenced her to one year in jail, but suspended the jail term for three years because the defendant suffered from mental illness. 
The court also required the defendant to report to the court every six months. 
Thitinan, 64, was accused of treading on an image of HM the King when several groups of protesters gathered in front of the Constitutional Court office in July 2012. 
Thitinan pleaded guilty. The defence lawyer did not have Thitinan testify in court because of her mental illness. 
A psychiatrist from Kanlaya Ratchanakarin Hospital who treated the defendant after the arrest testified to the court that Thitinan suffered from bipolar disorder, adding that the defendant was mentally ill when she committed the crime. 
Thitinan had been treated previously for mental illness at Srithanya Hospital. 
According to Thai law, defendants do not have to serve jail terms if they have a mental deficiency when committing a crime. In cases where the defendants are not completely unconscious of their actions, the court may reduce the sentence.
On 13 July 2012, about 400 protesters, both pro- and anti-establishment, gathered at the Constitutional Court compound when the court was scheduled to read the ruling on the Pheu Thai Party’s attempt to amend Article 68 of the charter. Anti-establishment, pro-Pheu Thai red-shirt protesters gathered to pressure the court, while another pro-establishment group came to show support for the court. 
Thitinan kicked at the King’s image while a protester was holding it. When the image fell to the ground, she then stepped on it twice. 
“The action suddenly brought about a harsh response from the demonstrators. The crowd rushed at her in anger and hurled curses at her but Mrs. Thitinan just laughed. Police officers nearby tried to control the situation before taking Mrs. Thitinan to a police booth to calm down. Many cameramen and mass media reporters took pictures and videos as evidence of the incident”, iLaw reported.  


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