Thai judge shoots himself in court in apparent suicide bid

Judge fires shot after claiming he came under pressure to change murder case verdict

Khanakorn Pianchana claimed in a statement that senior judges had told him to hand down guilty verdicts. Photograph: Getty

Khanakorn Pianchana claimed in a statement that senior judges had told him to hand down guilty verdicts. Photograph: Getty

 

A Thai judge shot himself in the chest in a court in an apparent suicide attempt following complaints about interference in a case he was presiding over.

Khanakorn Pianchana used a pistol to shoot himself in a provincial court in the city of Yala, in southern Thailand, after acquitting five men on trial for gun law and conspiracy crimes due to lack of evidence.

He underwent surgery following the incident. The Bangkok Post reported his injuries were not life-threatening.

Before the shooting a statement attributed to Mr Khanakorn, widely distributed on social media, claimed that senior judges told him to change his verdicts in the case to guilty. This would have meant sentencing three defendants to death and two to jail.

Mr Khanakorn’s statement sparked concerns that senior judges in Thailand’s justice system were abusing power to get guilty verdicts delivered to suit political goals.

A spokesperson for Thailand’s Office of the Judiciary, told the Bangkok Post that Mr Khanakorn apparently shot himself because he had personal issues and was under stress.

However Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, secretary-general of the country’s Future Forward Party, said that Mr Khanakorn had been trying to make claims about the court system public since early September.

On Saturday Workpoint News reported that Mr Khanakorn was still being cared for in an intensive care unit in a Yala hospital. - Guardian

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