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Chutima Sidasathian in a previous visit to the Phuket Prosecutor's office

Phuket Prosecutor Seeks Extra Time to Consider Appeal in Dismissed Case Against Phuketwan Journalists

Monday, November 2, 2015
PHUKET: The Phuket Prosecutor's office has asked for another 30 days in which to consider a possible appeal against the dismissal of charges faced by two Phuketwan journalists.

A judge on Phuket is now considering the application.

The request for extra time was lodged with Phuket court on October 27, Phuketwan has learned.

The Royal Thai Navy, which initially launched the criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act suit against journalists Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian and Phuketwan's parent company, Big Island Media, sought an additional 30 days in September in which to consider an appeal.

On October 30, the Royal Thai Navy informed the Phuket Provincial Court by letter that it did not intend to appeal.

But three days earlier, the Phuket Prosecutors' office had asked the court for extra time in which to consider an appeal.

There is no obligation for the Phuket Prosecutor's office to inform the defendants' lawyers of such an application.

The Phuketwan journalists told their legal team today about the application by the Phuket Prosecutor's office.

All charges against the two journalists and Big Island Media were comprehensively dismissed by a Phuket judge on September 1.

Parties in the prosecution have had the regulation 30 days in which to appeal the verdict, plus the extra 30 days granted to the Royal Thai Navy.

A judge is now considering whether to grant the request by the Phuket Prosecutor's office for an additional 30 days in which to consider an appeal.

Coincidentally, a policeman from Phuket's Vichit Police Station visited the offices of Phuketwan on Sunday but found the offices closed.

Corporal Decha Damchoom said later in a telephone call that he had been instructed by Phuket Immigration to check the Big Island Media workplace.

He plans to return on Tuesday.

''The only time we've previously been visited by police was when an officer from Vichit Police Station came to tell us we were being sued for criminal defamation and a count under the Computer Crimes Act,'' Morison, an Australian journalist with 49 years' experience, said today.

The initial criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act case centred on a 41-word paragraph that Phuketwan reproduced in 2013 directly from a Reuters news agency report, part of a series on the Rohingya boatpeople that later won a prestigious Pulitzer prize.

The police did not prosecute the two Reuters journalists who wrote the paragraph, nor did Reuters help the Phuketwan journalists to defend the news agency's words during the three-day trial in July.

On September 1, a Phuket judge comprehensively dismissed all charges.

Morison and Khun Chutima have won international awards and praise for their uninterrupted coverage of the treatment of the stateless Rohingya from Myanmar (Burma) and other boatpeople over the past eight years.

Morison, who funded Phuketwan from his life savings, says the defamation suit has cost him $60,000 to $100,000 in lost revenue.

The online news site is closing from December 31.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Bravo..They are going to get you,one way or another morisen.And that's a good thing.

Posted by James on November 2, 2015 23:51

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You both are a monumental witness of what to endure if crossing the interest of mighty people but holding up your moral compass shaming all in the process. Not most clever but incredible awesome. Not being rewarded in money or time but in the end you can show real worthy accomplishment. If only to yourself and the people you care and who care for you. But in the end that matters.

Posted by Lena on November 3, 2015 06:45

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Is this the same Prosecution team that didn't bother to turn up for most of the trial? The Thai justice system is a disgrace. When exactly will the Thai media - other than Phuketwan - ever have the courage to stand up for press freedom in this country?

Posted by Kez on November 3, 2015 06:50

Editor Comment:

We don't share the problems that large, powerful institutions appear to have with Thailand's justice system. Verdicts that uphold justice seem to be the problem.

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@James. You need help James, real help.

Posted by Mike on November 3, 2015 07:36

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Oh for goodness sake, they arent trying to drag this out any longer, art they ??

It's like reading War and Peace, the never ending book !!

Posted by Discover Thainess on November 3, 2015 11:04

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James, I open PW site every day because in my opinion, it's informative, up to the minute and well written.

Of course, all journalists have their own opinions, some express it more than others, but their readers are free to choose.

surely it would be way kinder to exercise Hopefully KBL is just a blip. I don't have any plans to write it off. freedom not to open their website rather than be so mean to a couple who have clearly already had enough of a beating.

Or maybe you disagree with their relay of the Reuters report as well.

Bravo to the end of comments like yours.
Sad farewell to PW.

Posted by Anonymous on November 3, 2015 15:35

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I posted my first comment ever on your site today.
I just saw it and it and it's absolutely not what I posted.
You have changed my words ???????

Posted by Anonymous on November 3, 2015 21:18

Editor Comment:

It's exactly what you posted, anonymous.

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Dear Alan,
I would never in a million years have written that last paragraph. I was been wholly complementary of you. Something went wrong. I would never write 'freedom not to open their website' it's not my writing style. Somoehoe it's getting changed.
You might want to check it because I never write that in my post.

Posted by Anonymous on November 3, 2015 21:44

Editor Comment:

I think your writing style is still being established, Anonymous. Good luck with it.


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