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The Royal Thai Navy accepts the Phuket court's verdict, with no appeal

Navy Decides to Accept Phuket Court Verdict

Wednesday, September 23, 2015
BANGKOK: Thailand's Navy has decided against appealing a court's decision to throw out defamation charges against Australian journalist Alan Morison and his Thai colleague Chutima Sidasathian.

Morison, 67, says the decision has "vindicated" reporting on Rohingya Muslim boat people in his online news service, Phuketwan.

The Royal Thai Navy had for two years pursued charges that could have seen Morison, a former senior Age editor, and Chutima, a reporter on Phuketwan, jailed for up to seven years.

The charges related to one paragraph referring to "Thai naval forces" allegedly having knowledge of the smuggling of Rohingya, who have been described by the United Nations as among the world's most persecuted people.

Phuketwan reproduced the paragraph in 2013 from a Reuters' series of stories that won the international news agency a Pulitzer Prize.

The navy did not charge Reuters.

The decision not to appeal a Phuket court's verdict on September 1 came amid reports that another court has issued arrest warrants for four senior Thai military officers on charges of human trafficking, including a naval commander.

Morison has put his Phuket-based company up for sale, saying defending the charges had been a huge financial and personal burden.

"I guess we derive a great deal of satisfaction from being proved right, even if it has cost us quite a bit to be true to that," he said.

"We hope Phuketwan will continue but we're not likely to be involved."


Comments have been disabled for this article.


Let's wait for a prosecution stance.
RTN were co-prosecutors in the case.
The state prosecutor can appeal on the own, and they have 1 month for that + time for postal delivery, if any.

It would be good if they will not appeal too, but let's wait until first week of October - only then a court will be able to determine whether appeal has been lodged or not.

Posted by Sue on September 24, 2015 00:15


lost cause for the navy more expense for same result

Posted by slickmelb on September 24, 2015 01:19


OK Sue, you know best.

Posted by Sue Yu on September 24, 2015 13:30


That's a bit of, dare I say it, a doomsayer post. Better to look on the bright side and say that hopefully the line will finally be drawn under this entire sad and very worrying to the two defendants episode. I cannot believe that the "powers that be" will want to put the country and its attitude to both refugees and freedom of the Press any more under the international spotlight than it already has. As for Reuters, words fail me!

Posted by Alan on September 24, 2015 15:32


No,it's not the doomsayer's post - it's normal just always to hope for the better, but prepare for the worse.

We all here for sure wish for this case to be dismissed sooner, completely and inadvertently.
But still it would be very painful to fall back on ground on drawing unsubstantioned - for the moment - conclusion on completion of resolution of the case, if an appeal is then lodged.

The state prosecutor can appeal, he can do that for various reasons which are not even remotely related to justice; the deadline is still not expired, and this should be taking into consideration.

I still don't understand Reuters at all, as even hypothesis that their behaviour has been driven by the brand protection, doesn't provide provide explanation whether they are not concerned with a dent that every outlet that publishes their articles, or even merely reference to articles, will be left alone in defending judicial claims, once any contentious issue will be risen anywhere in this world in regard of an article being imprecise, dafmotory etc. Who would wish then to publish them, pay royalty, for what then can bring mountain of monetary losses, variosu kinds of harm and risks of criminal conviction, if author - Reuters, will chose an easy path to distance itself from a quarrel..?

Posted by Sue on September 24, 2015 16:54

Editor Comment:

Reuters failing to defend its own writers' Pulitzer paragraph is, as I said, like a US marine walking past a mugging. Platitudes mean nothing.

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