Thai court rejects Yingluck suit against Attorney-General

Former PM Yingluck Shinawatra
PHOTO: The Nation

EMBATTLED former PM Yingluck Shinawatra might consider appealing against the Criminal Court's rejection yesterday of her lawsuit against former attorney-general Trakul Winitnaiyapak and three prosecutors.

Her lawsuit claimed irregularities in her indictment by the Supreme Court in relation to the rice-pledging scheme, her attorney said. Yingluck argued that Trakul and the prosecutors had charged her with malfeasance over the rice-pledging scheme despite knowing that their case against her had loopholes that required more investigation.

The court ruled that Yingluck failed to show official proof that no meetings on her case were held by the joint panel of prosecutors and the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Her suit only cited interviews by the media, it said.

The Attorney-General's Office on January 20 declared that the joint panel had looked into evidence, which showed that before Trakul filed charges, the prosecutors and graft busters had worked together.

Yingluck also accused Trakul of harassment because he sought to indict her just an hour before the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) voted to impeach her.

The court found that the proceedings were launched because the NACC had petitioned the NLA to impeach her and had nothing to do with the criminal charges filed against Yingluck by prosecutors. The court said it was her impression that the accused had harassed her but she failed to show how the defendants intended to frame her.

Yingluck, however, accused Trakul of framing her because the NACC had not included corruption among her alleged offences but he had. The court pointed out that Trakul had filed charges with the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Political Office Holders that clearly stated that the NACC had determined that Yingluck had committed offences. The charges as stated in the writ filed by prosecutors were not false as Yingluck claimed.

Yingluck also accused Trakul of unlawfully filing over 60,000 pages of evidence even though these documents were not discussed during the joint investigation. The court ruled that though the law stipulates that the court conducts hearings according to the writ submitted by the NACC, the court reserves the right to summon additional evidence and witnesses. The defendant also has the right to counter the state's evidence and witnesses with her own evidence and witnesses.

The court found that Trakul did not commit any offence as Yingluck claimed.

Sommai Koosap, Yingluck's attorney, said that he believes Yingluck would appeal the ruling and that he would copy the court's decision and scrutinise it in detail.

The lawyer also rejected comments by legal specialists circulated on social media that Yingluck's criminal suit against Trakul could backfire if Trakul files a counter-suit against her for filing false charges against him and taking him to court.

Yingluck had taken legal action in accordance with the facts, and filing a suit and facing a counter-suit was normal, he said.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said he would not exercise his powers under Article 44 of the provisional charter to seize the assets of anyone connected with the rice-pledging scheme, as that matter was up to the courts and judicial system.

"I do not want allegations of double standards. I treat everyone with the same standard to ensure justice and reduce disparity,'' he said.

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