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Phuket Provincial Court has granted extra for the Royal Thai Navy

UPDATE Navy Granted Extra Time to Appeal Against Dismissal

Wednesday, September 30, 2015
UPDATING All Day, Every Day

THE Royal Thai Navy has been granted until October 30 to decide whether to appeal against a Phuket judge's verdict, delivered on September 1, that all charges against two Phuketwan journalists and the parent company, Big Island Media, should be dismissed. The normal period for lodging an appeal is 30 days.

Original Report

PHUKET: The Royal Thai Navy is considering asking Phuket Provincial Court for extra time to consider whether to appeal the no-contest verdict in a criminal defamation and Computer Crimes Act case against two Phuket journalists.

Just days earlier, the Navy indicated it was not planning to appeal the verdict. Officers have until 4pm on Friday to ask the court for an extra 30 days in which to consider an appeal.

A Navy source told Phuketwan yesterday that the extension could be sought because the incoming top echelon of officers in the Navy has yet to see the verdict.

A version of what the judge said in dismissing all charges on September 1, obtained by Phuketwan from Phuket Provincial Court last week, is attached to this article.

An English-language version is now being translated and will be posted at the earliest opportunity.

''A new Commander in Chief takes over the Royal Thai Navy from October 1,'' the online news site's editor, Alan Morison, said today.

Morison and reporter Chutima Sidasathian had been charged over a 41-word paragraph, reproduced on July 17, 2013, that quoted word for word a Reuters paragraph that later formed part of a Pulitzer Prize winning series on Rohingya boatpeople fleeing persecution in Burma (Myanmar.)

Although the words were typed by Reuters journalists, Reuters was not charged. Reuters also left the Phuketwan journalists without assistance or verbal support in defending Reuters' words.

'We have no problems with the Navy asking for an extension of time,'' Morison said. ''That is their right.

''But it might have been wiser for the old guard at the Navy to properly brief the new guard about the case and the dismissal of all charges.

''To seek an extra 30 days in which to consider whether to appeal could make it appear as if the Navy is unable to keep up with the daily news.

''The United Nations, the Prime Minister's office or the Department of Foreign Affairs could bring them up to date quickly.''

BAIL FOR Chutima Sidasathian and Alan Morison was provided by the Andaman Community Rights and Legal Aid Centre, based in Trang province. Most of the legal costs of the case are being met by the London-based Media Legal Defence Initiative.

In Thailand, a group of more than 10 lawyers teamed up to provide legal counsel. They include SR Law, the Human Rights Lawyers' Association and iLaw. They aim to now try to have the laws used against Phuketwan repealed.

WATCH the Dateline documentary
The Dateline documentary team from SBS Australia shared the three-day trial of Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian with participants for a show full of revealing insights.

WATCH Journey into Hell, by Four Corners
From Burma through Thailand, an award-winning current affairs team traces official complicity in the brutal treatment of the Rohingya and Phuketwan's part in its exposure.

WATCH How Trafficking Works
Phuketwan Investigative reporter Chutima Sidasathian says of traficking in 2014: ''It's worse and worse, day by day. Nobody cares''.

LISTEN The Rohingya Solution
A tragedy almost beyond words has been unfolding in Thailand, where a human smuggling network is thriving with the full knowledge of some corrupt law enforcement officers. Alan Morison of Phuketwan talks to Australia's AM program.


Comments have been disabled for this article.


By all means, do appeal and ensure even more negative publicity falls on the RTN and the general handling of the Rohingya in Thailand.

Could this be just to inconvenience you Alan ? I mean, if they do lodge an appeal, does that restrict your right to move freely in and out of Thailand ?

Posted by Herbert on September 30, 2015 12:37

Editor Comment:

No idea, Herbert. We'd have to wait and see. This would just give the Navy 60 days to think about something that usually takes most people 30 days.


Indeed. I see the RTN only dig themselves a deeper hole than they are already in.

It's an interesting battle between common sense and the ability to admit having been wrong. The latter not being the strength of powerful figures or institutions in this society.

Posted by Herbert on September 30, 2015 14:38


Maybe ED block all comments on this legal issue. Now is not the time to poke sticks into the hornets nest.
Thank you and we love reading your very informative news.

Posted by Duncan B on September 30, 2015 16:03


This is worthy of an April Fool joke; but unfortunately it is a serious business by serious people.

I simply cannot see any benefit for the RTN. Someone is giving them very bad advice.

Posted by Logic on September 30, 2015 16:14


Correct me if I am wrong, did not newspapers in Thailand publish a list of officials involved in trafficking and suspended or arrested? If there were any naval officer involved, I cannot remember, would not that person be defaming the Navy?


Posted by Bob on September 30, 2015 19:19

Editor Comment:

There is one Navy officer accused but the case against Phuketwan predates the discovery of camps and bodies in the jungle and the subsequent more thorough investigation. The Navy officer's guilt should not be assumed.


Oh my goodness, not again!

RTN should just allow this to slip away quietly where it will soon be forgotten - dragging it all up again will just lengthen the farce.

Posted by Discover Thainess on September 30, 2015 19:39


I wonder how the world looks at the Thai Navy, I also wonder if the Thai Navy pays much thought to what the world thinks. I had my hair cut the other day (outside of Asia) and when I explained I used to live in Phuket the lady said "Am I a drug kingpin" Seems Phuket has a reputation.

Posted by Thai on September 30, 2015 20:48


Why bother losing face twice?

One pretty face is more than enough for most folks.

And they are forgiven.

I once lost a fight in hockey and licked my emotional wounds for ages, such is the ignorance of ego and pride.

Hubris was good enough to ruin the Roman empire.

Just lose it.

Posted by farang888 on October 1, 2015 02:13


On a selfish note I tend to like the RTN to proceed with an appeal, as then I presume Phuketwan will stay open for longer then Dezember 2015. But that aside, I wonder why the old top brass would not be so kind and clean the table before the new top brass has to see not the RTN very best work in recent memory. Can't it be, that the new command has far better things to do to keep Thailands seas safe and the RTN honorable?

Posted by Lena on October 1, 2015 16:10


Are there any news, has been any request for an extension filed?

However,if they've sent it by mail, it could take few days to arrive,especially if from BKK.

Posted by Sue on October 5, 2015 10:13


If they've been granted, then ok, there is not uch can be done in regard of this particular point: Thailand court routinely garnt variosu kind sof deadliens extensions, and there is no preculiar regulation on that in statutes, also in regard whether they can be appealed - in general, not.

Let's wait then until the first week of Nivember, when it will be clear whether RTn has lodged an appeal.

Posted by Sue on October 5, 2015 17:21

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