Police decided to file the case against the NDM’s attorney with the public prosecutor for preventing car search, the indictment decision by the prosecutor to be announced later pending the request from the attorney to have more witnesses examined

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Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri(middle) with representatives from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) , representatives from the Swedish Embassy to Thailand and her legal team.

On 12 May 2016, the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)’s attorney, Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri, has met with the public prosecutor at the Department of Summary Litigation 3 (Dusit), Bangkok, in a case she is alleged to have concealed the evidence and have disobeyed the order of the competent official after being instructed to do so, the violation of the Penal Code’s Section 142 (imprisonment not exceeding three years) and Section 368 (imprisonment not exceeding one month). Previously, the inquiry official has concluded the investigation and decided to press ahead with charging her. The public prosecutor has decided to reschedule the meeting to 27 July 2016 at 9.30 to let her know if the case will be indicted or not, pending the examination of more witnesses.

Around 11.30, while reporting herself, Ms. Sirikan has submitted a letter of petition to the public prosecutor describing circumstantial evidence and legal opinion that the police officials attempted to search her car on after midnight on 27 June 2015 without a court warrant and that the acting police officials did not have power and authority in the location where the alleged crime happened. As a result, Ms. Sirikan had file a police complaint against the police officials for abusing their office in violation of Section 157 of the Penal Code (malfeasance in the office) after they tried to conduct a warrantless search and had impounded her car over night. If the accused found to be guilty per the malfeasance charge, it would prove that Ms. Sirikan had not committed the offence as alleged. In addition, the legal action against her has originated from her performing the duty to protect the rights of her clients. And such legal action will simply do disservice to the country’s image. In her letter of petition, she also asked for more witnesses to be examined including members of the New Democracy Movement (NDM), her clients, Ms. Sirikan herself, Ms. Yaowalak Anuphan, the Head of the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and the inquiry official who had received the case reported by her for accusing that the police had committed malfeasance.

In addition, representatives from the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in Thailand including Mr. Sam Zarifi and, representatives from the Swedish Embassy to Thailand were also present to observe the procedure. According to them, the case has drawn much attention at the international level since it involves the performance of duties of attorney who acts to defend the right to judicial system.

Meanwhile, the public prosecutor of the Department of Summary Litigation 3 (Dusit), Mr. Panupong Charoenying, had explained to the observers that initially, the public prosecutor has to determine as to which jurisdiction of the Court this case belongs. Then they will look into the facts and legal issues per the investigation report and the letter of petition. The case shall be handled by a team led by him. Nevertheless, this case is an important case according to the regulation of the Office of the Attorney General. Therefore, the person who will have the final decision about the indictment of the case shall be the Director General of the Department of Summary Litigation and the announcement of the decision concerning the indictment shall be made on 27 July 2016 at the Department of Summary Litigation 3 (Dusit). Meanwhile, more witnesses shall be examined by the public prosecutor. And the indictment has to be made at the approval of the Attorney General.

Ms. Sirikan Charoensiri is a lawyer from the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights and one of the legal representatives for the 14 activists from the New Democracy Movement (NDM). On the night of 26-27 June 2015, after finishing her duty of providing legal assistance to the 14 activists at the Bangkok Military Court, Sirikan was requested by police officials to search her car to confiscate some mobile phones, which the students left with the lawyers before being brought to the prisons. Sirikan refused to let her car be searched, since the officials did not present a search warrant, and there was no justifiable evidence to conduct the search without a warrant at night. The officials then impounded her car overnight, and brought a court warrant to conduct the search on 27 June 2015. Sirikan later filed a complaint of malfeasance, under Section 157 of the Thai Criminal Code, against Pol.Lt. Gen. Chayapol Chatchayadetch and others for illegally impounding her car. Consequently, the police filed complaints against her, accusing her of refusing to comply with an official order without any reasonable cause or excuse after being informed of an order of an official given according to the power invested by law, and an offence of concealing or making away of property or document ordered by the official to be sent as evidence or for execution of the law, under Sections 368 and 142 of the Thai Criminal Code, and an offence of giving false information concerning a criminal offence to an inquiry official to subject an individual to a punishment under Sections 172 and 174 of the Criminal Code.At this time, Ms. Sirikan is not charged by police with two offences of filing a false police report. However, it is probable that the police will summon her to inform the charges again.

 

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