Court throws out computer crime charge pressed by digital economy ministry in 2021
The Criminal Court on Friday acquitted Pannika Wanich, a campaign assistant of the Move Forward Party, of a Computer Crime Act violation stemming from Facebook posts she made a decade ago.
Ms Pannika, now 35, made the posts between 2013 and 2014. One contained excerpts an old song predicting the fate of the Ayutthaya kingdom.
The posts subsequently came to the attention of the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society, where officials claimed they could arouse public concern and panic by offending the royal institution. Ministry officials filed a complaint with the police Technology Crime Suppression Division in 2021.
After examining the evidence, the court found that the defendant’s act had not violated Section 14 (2) of the Computer Crime Act as the plaintiff contended, as it was not tantamount to putting false information into a computer system that may cause damage or panic in society, said Krisadang Nutcharas, a lawyer with Thai Lawyers for Human Rights.
The court noted that one of the posts mentioned the political situation at the time, and the other was a long prophecy that was published and widely known by members of the public, according to Mr Krisadang.
Ms Pannika, a former MP for the now-dissolved Future Forward Party and a core member of the Progressive Movement, told the media last year that she was surprised that public prosecutors had decided to indict her.
Ms Pannika and two other key figures from Future Forward — Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Piyabutr Saengkanokkul — have been the targets of numerous legal complaints, including lese-majeste, levelled by opponents of the movement that is now poised to form a new government after finishing first in last Sunday’s election.