Negotiations over libel lawsuit fail
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday refused a defence offer for settlement of his libel suit against red-shirt leader Jatuporn Promphan.The settlement talks collapsed after Jatuporn had agreed to withdraw his remarks but stopped short of admitting to have lied.
At the heart of the court battle is Jatuporn's allegation that Abhisit, then prime minister, ordered the "killings" in connection with the street protest in 2010.
As plaintiff, Abhisit cited Jatuporn's two speeches, dated October 11 and 17, 2010, as evidence.
"In the presence of the mediating judge, Jatuporn and I had a closed-door meeting but failed to reach a settlement," Abhisit said.
He said he found it unacceptable that Jatuporn would not renounce his fabricated remarks.
"The gravity of the allegation is too serious to just have it withdrawn without recanting," he said.
Due to the failure to reach an out-of-court settlement, the trial would be resumed.
The plaintiff had finished calling witnesses and presenting evidence. The judicial proceedings would pick up with the defence.
Jatuporn is expected to be the sole witness testifying in his own defence.
In the past three libel cases involving Abhisit and Jatuporn, two have been dismissed and one ended up with a guilty verdict and a suspended jail term.
Jatuporn was acquitted for portraying Abhisit as a draft dodger in 2010.
He was also acquitted for saying Abhisit had blood in his hands by cracking down on protesters in April, 2009.
He was convicted for defamation, however, for alleging Abhisit's inappropriate conduct during a royal audience with His Majesty in 2009.
In his initial sentencing, he was given a six-month imprisonment and ordered to pay a fine of Bt50,000.
But the court cited his first-time offence as grounds for leniency and suspended his jail term for two years. As part of his punishment, he had to publish an apology in two national newspapers for seven days.