19 May 2024

Thailand’s Constitutional Court turned down the request, by the three anti-establishment leaders, for the submission of additional oral evidence because it has already completed a year-long investigation under the inquisitorial court system.

An inquisitorial system is a legal system in which the court, or part of the court, is actively involved in investigating the facts of the case. It is typical in countries with civil legal systems.

Yesterday (Wednesday), the court ruled by 8:1 that the speeches, made by anti-establishment leaders Anon Nampa, Panupong “Mike” Jadnok and Panusaya “Rung”Sithijirawattanakul, during a protest held at Thammasat University’s Rangsit campus on August 10th last year were acts of expression aimed at the overthrow of the constitutional monarchy.

Before the reading of the ruling yesterday, KrisadangNutcharat, a lawyer representing Anon, who could not attend the court session because he is being detained at Bangkok Remand Prison, brought with him well-known scholar Sulak Sivaraksa.

He reportedly told the court that he would present Sulak as oral evidence and would like the court to take note of his request. He also said that he had been instructed by his client, Anon, to leave the courtroom if the court refused to accept his request for an inquiry of the case.

The other lawyer, Noraset Nanongtoom, representing Panupong Jadnok, made a similar request for an inquiry.

The two lawyers and Panusaya walked out of the courtroom in protest after the court rejected their request for the submission of additional oral evidence. The court justified its decision to disallow additional evidence at the reading of the ruling by pointing out that the court had already completed the inquiry, which has lasted for about a year.

Supporters of the anti-establishment movement burned an effigy of the Democracy Monument near the Constitutional Court building last night in protest against the court’s ruling.

Protesters also threw protest leaflets on the ground in front of the court building after the reading of the ruling.

Police deployed outside the building did not intervene,reportedly out of concern that their intervention might provoke undesirable consequences.