The Supreme Court on Thursday gave former head of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Tarit Pengdith, 61, a one-year jail term without suspension for unfairly demoting a subordinate in 2012.
The Supreme Court said Tarit's signing the April 20, 2012, transfer order, which had Col Piyawat Kingkate, 64, moved from his then position as DSI’s Bureau of Intellectual Property Crime chief to serve in a lower position of a case-specific specialist, was an abuse of power to bully the subordinate over a personal conflict. The move had not benefited the civil service.
This lawsuit originally saw Piyawat accusing Tarit and then deputy permanent secretary for justice, Charnchao Chaiyanukij, 60, of malfeasance under article 157 of the Criminal Code.
The Supreme Court also acquitted Charnchao who the judge thought to have been careful before signing the approval of such transfer order as he reportedly had consulted with legal experts at the agency and he had no previous personal conflict with Piyawat to establish grounds to bully him.
A week after the transfer, Piyawat filed a complaint to the Merit Systems Protection Board under the Civil Service Commission, which later ruled that the transfer order was unlawful, unreasonable and of no benefit to the civil service.
The permanent secretary for justice cancelled the order in October 2012 and had him reinstated. Piyawat, however, resigned from the civil service in the same month and filed the lawsuit, claiming the transfer might stem from conflicts with Tarit over various cases.
On August 11, 2015, the primary court found Tari guilty and gave him a two-year jail term but acquitted Charnchao due to lack of evidence. Piyawat then appealed for a punishment to Charnchao while Tarit appealed for a lighter sentence at the Appeals Court.
On March 2, 2017, the Appeals Court ruled that both Tarit and Charnchao were guilty but also noted they both had served the country well so the court gave each of them a two-year suspended jail term. Piyawat then appealed to the Supreme Court for jail terms without suspension for both men while the defendants also appealed for acquittal.