FUGITIVES from criminal offences will be deprived of their right to file criminal cases against others while on the run, according to an amendment to the Criminal Procedure Law passed by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) yesterday.
The amendment refers to those persons that deny the power of courts of law and fail to abide by the final court verdict in criminal cases against them. The NLA yesterday voted 149:0, with three abstentions, to pass the amendment.
Of the total 240 NLA members, 152 were present at yesterday’s meeting.
There have been cases in which former political office holders wanted for criminal offences had their lawyers take legal action against others, while they were themselves escaping persecution by living overseas.
Surasit Sangvirojpat, secretary of the law-vetting committee who represents the Courts of Law, told the NLA meeting that the amendment regards as “dishonest” any legal action launched by a convict escaping a court verdict for either imprisonment or a fine.
In response to queries by some NLA members, Surasit also said he understood that the amendment would also stop people from filing the same lawsuit at different courts in different provinces – a practice adopted by many supposedly damaged parties in the past.
He said this practice could be regarded as “filing a lawsuit dishonestly”, which is prohibited by the amended Criminal Procedure Law.
Also, an amended clause in the law empowers court officials to arrest defendants released on bail in the event of an emergency, without the help of police or administrative officers, as was the case in the past.