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50,000 Defamation Suits May Be Dropped Wednesday


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50,000 Defamation Suits May Be Dropped Wednesday

By Sasiwan Mokkhasen, Staff Reporter

 

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British rights activist Andy Hall speaks to the media outside a Bangkok court on Sept. 2, 2014. Photo: Athit Perawongmetha / Reuters

 

BANGKOK — The lead author of the revised Computer Crime Act and a public prosecutor said Tuesday that the law can no longer be used as a tool for defamation lawsuits, and all those filed under it must be dismissed.

 

In a change that would have far-reaching implications, about 50,000 defamation cases filed under the original 2007 Computer Crime Act will be dismissed when its updated version comes into effect Wednesday, as officials said it can no longer be used for prosecuting defamation.

 

Full Story: http://www.khaosodenglish.com/politics/2017/05/23/50000-defamation-suits-may-dropped-wednesday/

 
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-- © Copyright Khaosod English 2017-5-23
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This is huge. If it goes through, immediate beneficiaries would be Andy Hall, Andrew Drummond and the BBcs Jonathan Head who would all have the spurious charges against them withdrawn. Criminals could no longer bring to court and often put in jail, those who reveal their illegal behaviour.

The legislation has been horribly abused. It is a shame it has taken this long for the powers that be, to recognise it, but this is seriously good news.

Edited by darksidedog
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2 minutes ago, darksidedog said:

This is huge. If it goes through, immediate beneficiaries would be Andy Hall, Andrew Drummond and the BBcs Jonathan Head who would all have the spurious charges against them withdrawn. Criminals could no longer bring to court and often put in jail, those who reveal their illegal behaviour.

The legislation has been horribly abused. It is a shame it has taken this long for the powers that be, to recognise it, but this is seriously good news.

 

Believe it IF/WHEN it happens.

 

Try not to celebrate too prematurely.

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8 minutes ago, billd766 said:

 

Believe it IF/WHEN it happens.

 

Try not to celebrate too prematurely.

True.. but if it happens its a huge thing done by the junta something that other parties did not even contemplate to do. Still I wont hold my breath.

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3 minutes ago, MaxLee said:

 


Be careful of sudden U-turn à'la "Juuuuust kidding..."


Sent from my iPad using Thailand Forum - Thaivisa mobile app

 

Could happen.. that is why i said i wont hold my breath.. but if this change goes through its a huge thing. Anything that makes it harder to use this as defamation is great.. something nobody has tried before.. nobody has touched defamation in a positive way in ages. 

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19 minutes ago, billd766 said:

 

Believe it IF/WHEN it happens.

 

Try not to celebrate too prematurely.

Yeah, Yeah! I know T.I.T. However, the legislation has been passed already. The provisions within it do not allow for defamation to be brought to the court as a computer crime act, only simple defamation, which is minor in comparison. I have bawled and screamed repeatedly on this forum about the CCA, and the need for it to go.

I can see many exposed criminals bleating loudly, but barring something truly amazing, this does look like a done deal.

I will however, keep the champagne on ice, until the cases are officially withdrawn. I also hope that those poor souls in jail already are released swiftly. (If it clears!)

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It's hard to tell, from the article presented here, whether this is a big deal or not... because, of one issue the article seems to not mention at all.

 

So, they remove individual defamation as a cause of action under the CCA, fine.  But as far as I know, individual defamation is still a legal offense under either the regular criminal or civil code laws in Thailand, and was long before the CCA came along.

 

Thus, AFAIK, anyone who had pressed a defamation case using the CCA as a basis could simply refile or file an amended complaint changing the legal basis to regular criminal or civil law defamation.

 

Unless someone else here knows otherwise, I'm afraid this is another one of the various kinds of news reports here that seem to sound good, but really fail to get to the bottom line of what's afoot. 

 

What they really need to do instead, but presumably won't, is end the legal basis for criminal defamation and make it strictly a civil offense. That would be progress.

 

That the OP article entirely failed to address the issue that traditional civil and criminal defamation codes remain on the books, and available to plaintiffs, reflects poorly on the author.

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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10 minutes ago, TallGuyJohninBKK said:

It's hard to tell, from the article presented here, whether this is a big deal or not... because, of one issue the article seems to not mention at all.

 

So, they remove individual defamation as a cause of action under the CCA, fine.  But as far as I know, individual defamation is still a legal offense under either the regular criminal or civil code laws in Thailand, and was long before the CCA came along.

 

Thus, AFAIK, anyone who had pressed a defamation case using the CCA as a basis could simply refile or file an amended complaint changing the legal basis to regular criminal or civil law defamation.

 

Unless someone else here knows otherwise, I'm afraid this is another one of the various kinds of news reports here that seem to sound good, but really fail to get to the bottom line of what's afoot.

 

It is the punishment that makes the difference. Defamation is not much more than a slap on the wrist, and seriously not worth bothering taking to court, unless you have overwhelming proof of personal and financial loss. Then you can claim compensation, but the offender is unlikely to go to jail.

Being found guilty under the CCA and you are on holiday for years.

Add to that the bail amounts involved, which are peanuts for defamation and hundreds of thousands for CCA.

It doesn't repeal defamation, which is actually a good thing. People should have some recourse if they are slandered or libeled.

It does stop people bringing spurious cases under CCA, to vindictively bankrupt you, and put you in jail, to stop you revealing their illegal activity.

Edited to reply to the posters edit. If you read the full article it becomes a bit clearer, though I think my post above does so quite well too.

 

Edited by darksidedog
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8 hours ago, darksidedog said:

Yeah, Yeah! I know T.I.T. However, the legislation has been passed already. The provisions within it do not allow for defamation to be brought to the court as a computer crime act, only simple defamation, which is minor in comparison. I have bawled and screamed repeatedly on this forum about the CCA, and the need for it to go.

I can see many exposed criminals bleating loudly, but barring something truly amazing, this does look like a done deal.

I will however, keep the champagne on ice, until the cases are officially withdrawn. I also hope that those poor souls in jail already are released swiftly. (If it clears!)

The system just cannot try 50,000 cases

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The CCA is looked upon as a draconian law by most of the world, there solely to shut up people. Criminals have used it for years as a way of making money. If the country does not drop it very soon it will come back and bite it???

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10 hours ago, Father Fintan Stack said:

It is only cases of online defamation filed under the computer crimes act as the revision of the act does not legislate for defamation.

 

The defamation laws remain and can still be filed separately.

 

You can put them back in your pants junta lovers, this isn't down to beneficence by your beloved military leaders, just a simple legal requirement. 

Punishment under computer crime act is worse.. anyway .. this would be huge.. far more progressive as YL ever done.. an acomplishment worth to mention something people have been asking about for ages.. changes in these laws. 

 

Now I won't cheer before it happens but if it does even a junta hater like you will have to admit they did something huge something the Shins never did.

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sure it is great news; dont understand tho how it is being enacted retrospectively; if there is a law in place at a point in time and someone breaks it, then it was a crime at that time; if that law changes in the future , that should apply only to the future

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18 minutes ago, YetAnother said:

sure it is great news; dont understand tho how it is being enacted retrospectively; if there is a law in place at a point in time and someone breaks it, then it was a crime at that time; if that law changes in the future , that should apply only to the future

There are times that laws are enacted retrospectively and other times they are not. I don't really understand it either but I have seen both. 

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13 hours ago, darksidedog said:

It is the punishment that makes the difference. Defamation is not much more than a slap on the wrist, and seriously not worth bothering taking to court, unless you have overwhelming proof of personal and financial loss. Then you can claim compensation, but the offender is unlikely to go to jail.

I know the CCA has longer potential prison sentences, but up to 2 years in jail based on the regular criminal code for defamation isn't peanuts or what I'd call a "slap on the wrist," not to mention having to hire an attorney to defend yourself against the case, and the fact that the truthfulness of a statement isn't a blanket legal defense against defamation in Thailand... still leaves quite a potential headache for anyone so accused. Not as much as under the CCA, but still a legal and financial headache.

 

 

Quote

 

Criminal Defamation

Defamation as a criminal act in Thailand is defined by the Thai Criminal Code as a statement made by a person who imputes anything to another in a manner which is likely to impair the reputation of the latter or to expose him to hatred or contempt. Under the same Code, such person is liable for an imprisonment up to two years or he can be ordered by the court to pay a fine of 200,000 Baht or may be both.
 

Burden of Proof and Available Defenses

In Thailand, it is not the duty of the victim or the prosecution that the statement made by the defendant is false. Hence, the burden of proof lies on the defendant to prove that his statements are true. The defense that the defendant did not know his statements to be false is not acceptable in Thailand. Regardless of the truthfulness or falsehood of the statement, once it became a source of an injury which caused damage to the victim, the defendant is liable. Also, although the defendant proves that his statement is true, he still has the burden of proving to the court the propriety of such statement. Nevertheless, the defendant may set up a defense that the statement was made by him in good faith to the person who he believes to be entitled to such information or has interest thereof.

 

http://www.thailandlaw.org/defamation-in-thailand.html

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13 hours ago, darksidedog said:

 If you read the full article it becomes a bit clearer, though I think my post above does so quite well too.

 

This is the only mention of the existing/still remaining criminal defamation statute in the OP article:

 

Quote

Causing damage to an “individual” was excised from the new version of Article 14(1) published Jan. 24 in the Royal Gazette. It also explicitly states that the law cannot be used to prosecute what is already addressed in the Penal Code as defamation.

 

But more broadly, I guess one of my main points here is whether the headline premise of the article is actually true -- that 50,000 CCA defamation cases will have to be dismissed.  I'm not sure that's entirely correct.

 

Because....

1. Some unknown number of those cases that may have used the CCA as a cause of action may well have also used the regular defamation statute as an additional cause of action.

 

2. Even if they were only filed with the CCA as a cause of action, AFAIK, there's nothing that would prevent a plaintiff from amending their criminal complaint to charge regular criminal defamation.

 

3. And even if they could not for some reason amend their complaint for regular criminal defamation, AFAIK, there would be nothing that would prevent an aggrieved plaintiff from bringing a new regular criminal defamation complaint if they hadn't already done so.

 

Don't get me wrong: the change referenced in the OP article re the revision of the CCA is certainly an improvement over the prior version. But as long as defamation remains a criminal offense in Thailand that can still even be filed/prosecuted by a private party (not just the public prosecutors), then Thailand still has a long way to go.

 

And frankly, from the OP article, if one's alleged defamation offense happens to be oriented to the government or any of its institutions (Army, Police, etc.), it would seem that they can still prosecute you under the CCA and its section relating to the often-used, and vaguely defined "national security" clause.
 

Quote

 

Article 14 of the new bill retains the authority to punish those found guilty of importing false information that can cause harm to national security – and pornograhy. It also punishes importing any kind of information deemed illegal under the Penal Code concerning national security and terrorism.

That’s unlikely to change its use in prosecuting alleged royal defamation, which is regarded as a matter of national security.


 

 

Edited by TallGuyJohninBKK
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This long-overdue concession was on the cards, anyway, because of mounting pressure both inside and outside Thailand. However, while the cheers were ringing out, an arguably even more pernicious provision of the Computer Crime Act was being slipped quietly through.

 

It will now be an offence to import - meaning download - "forged, false or distorted computer information deemed damaging to the public at large".  This vaguely-worded catch-all provision is yet another damaging blow to free speech on the Internet and social media.

 

With the Act due to take effect today, it will be interesting to see how quickly it is invoked - possibly even against members of this relatively-outspoken forum.

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16 hours ago, NanLaew said:

One step forward... but we know there are two steps back already somewhere in the pipeline.

Yes this statement is just to good to be true. Its almost like the country is finally taking a step forward which is so out of character. 

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There is nothing wrong with defamation in general where a person has suffered loss by false accusation. Thailands problem is that by making it a criminal offense and not civil, is the burden of coost to prosecute is born by the country and not those filing the complaint.

 

Bring defamation under civil law and when subject to personal cost and burden of proof, the situation and number of cases will be almost zero, if not a handfull each year where a real claim is justified.

 

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