After years of legal trouble over the loss of 19-rai (about 7.5 acres), which was mortgaged to secure a Bt160,000 loan, 80-year-old blind retired teacher Sumeth Songkhram from Phetchabun's Chon Daen district finally got justice this week.
The Appeals Court verdict on Wednesday upheld a two-year imprisonment imposed on the creditor's son Preeda Prangchaiyaphum, who was found guilty of document forgery and fraud.
The court also ordered Preeda to return the land title deed or pay Bt1.8 million compensation to Sumeth.
Preeda failed to attend the verdict at the Phetchabun Provincial Court. He missed a previously scheduled verdict reading over a month ago, resulting in the judge issuing an arrest warrant.
Sumeth mortgaged the land to secure a Bt160,000 loan from Preeda's family in 2004.
But Preeda later allegedly used a letter of authority with a forged signature from Sumeth to get the plot released and resold to him.
Sumeth and wife Sophee, 52, in 2016 learned about the land takeover. It said Sophee, who is illiterate, read the contract to the blind Sumeth before signing it.
The couple asked for Justice Ministry help, resulting in an investigation that proved the document was forged.
The primary court in August 2017 sentenced Preeda to two years' imprisonment and ordered him to return the land title deed.
The couple were, however, hit by another lawsuit by the creditor in May over alleged extortion.
In the same month, the couple also received a court summons, at the creditor's request, to settle the Bt390,000 debt or the land would be seized.
The couple then sought legal aid from the provincial justice office on May 21.