The Supreme Court yesterday acquitted Sondhi Limthongkul, the founder of the Manager media group, in a defamation lawsuit filed by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
However, the court sentenced Sondhi’s TV co-host Sarocha Porn-Udomsak to six months in jail with a two-year suspension and a fine of Bt20,000.
The two persons were accused of defaming Thaksin after Sarocha replayed a recording of Sondhi’s comments on their TV show “Yam Fao Pan Din” in August 2007.
The comments were related to a minister’s reaction to Thaksin’s comments about the monarchy shortly after the September 19, 2006 coup.
In May 2012, Criminal Court sentenced both Sondhi and Sarocha to six months in jail with a two-year suspension and a fine of Bt20,000 each.
However, the Appeals Court overturned the verdict, saying the first defendant’s comments were not defamatory considering the plaintiff’s comments.
The Supreme Court then said that though Sondhi’s comments could be deemed defamatory, they had been made before the date notified in the plaintiff’s libel lawsuit.
The court said the plaintiff’s claim that Sondhi co-hosted the programme and defamed him with his co-host was invalid.
Hence the court acquitted Sondhi but sentenced Sarocha for allegedly defaming the former PM.