Methee gets suspended jail term

The Criminal Court on Monday sentenced Methee Amornwuthikul, a former actor and supporter of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, to a one year and four months suspended jail term and a fine of 66,666 baht for defaming UDD leader Jatuporn Prompan.

The case was filed by Mr Jatuporn against Mr Methee and six other defendants - Naew Na newspaper, Chokchai Sumon, former Democrat MP Vachara Phetthong, NST News Co, ASTV Manager Co and Manager daily editor Tul Sirikulpipat.

The lawsuit stated that Mr Methee, a former UDD core supporter, had defamed Mr Jatuporn during an interview with the media by saying that the UDD leader had embezzled 68 million baht from donations made by the red-shirts to the UDD, had improper conduct with a woman while on a beach and had threatened to kill him.

The court found that Mr Methee had no solid evidence to confirm the donation embezzlement or the other accusations made against Mr Jatuporn.

The court initially sentenced Mr Methee to two years imprisonment and a fine of 100,000 baht.  Because he cooperated the jail sentence was commuted by one-third to one year and four months, suspended for two years, and the fine to 66,666 baht.

Mr Methee was also ordered to publish the court's verdict in two newspapers.

The court dismissed charges against the other defendants, members of the media, finding that they had acted honestly in publishing the interview with Mr Methee without distorting the facts.

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