6 June 2024

The judge, who shot himself in a courtroom of the provincial court in Thailand’s southern border province of Yala in last October to protest against alleged interference by a senior judge in a case he handled, shot himself dead this morning at his residence in the northern province of Chiang Mai.

Mr. Saravuh Benjakul, secretary-general of the Office of Judicial Affairs, said today that Kanakorn Pienchana, shot himself in the heart between 7-8am, while his wife and children out.

He said the judge’s wife returned home, found Kanakorn and called an ambulance, which rushed the victim to Doi Saked district hospital. He was transferred to McCormick Hospital, due to his serious condition, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving.

 

A former chief judge of Yala provincial court, Kanakorn was transferred to assist at the Region 5 Appeals Court, based in Chiang Mai, pending a disciplinary investigation by a judicial panel.

The Yala provincial police had filed charges of illegally carrying and discharging a firearm in public against Kanakorn.

 

Before his suicide this morning, Mr. Kanakorn said goodbye to his friends and the public in two letters, dated March 6th, which were posted on Facebook. In one letter, he referred to his failed suicide attempt on October 6th, and the statement he made, accusing Mr. Permsak Saiseethong, the Region 9 chief justice, of interfering in a criminal case that he handled. In the letter, he said that, after the suicide attempt, he was investigated and eventually charged, adding that he would definitely be dismissed from judicial service.

“The loss of the job that I love also means the loss of myself, in that I have become a defendant.  My body and my mind cannot stand it – they are weighed down with suffering.  My life in this world is over,” lamented the judge.

 

Mr. Kanakorn said he did not regret his first suicide attempt, claiming that he did so from his heart and expressed his wish for justice for the people.

Referring to the so-called ‘People’s Constitution’ of 1997, he asked the public whether they had ever wondered why a clause in the charter barred senior judges from checking the verdict of the Court of First Instance.  He said that the framers of that charter knew that those verdicts could be subjected to interference if a senior judge is allowed to check them.

Mr. Kanakorn said he didn’t expect to survive his first suicide attempt, but the Almighty had mercy on him so he could return to his family, adding “March 6th and 7th are appropriate.  My children’s school has been closed for about a week.  It is about time.  Before that, I tried meditation, but it didn’t work.  So I decided to use force. Life is just the journey of a body which does not belong to us.  In the end, it will return to ashes, just as the departure of our loved ones, leaving only the merits in the memory of the other people.  To end suffering, I wish to say farewell now, even though it is not the right time.”