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Sorrayuth free on bail

Ex-TV news anchor Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda walks free from Bangkok Remand Prison yesterday after being awarded bail. He was accompanied by Channel 3 morning news anchor Pitchayatan "Bright" Chanput. WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL

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The Supreme Court yesterday granted bail to former TV news anchor Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda and a co-conspirator, who were both convicted for embezzling state advertising revenue.

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Court frees Sorrayuth on bail

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The Supreme Court yesterday granted bail to former TV news anchor Sorrayuth Suthassanachinda and a co-conspirator, who were both convicted for embezzling state advertising revenue.

The court approved five million baht bail for both of them on condition that they do not leave the country without the court's permission.

The pair must report to the court every three months, the court said.

The Appeal Court on Aug 29 upheld the lower court's ruling sentencing Sorrayuth to 13 years and four months in jail.

The case involved his company, Rai Som Co, and two other defendants – Rai Som employee Montha Theeradet and former Mass Communications Authority of Thailand (MCOT) employee Pichapa Iamsa-ard.

The lower court ruled the defendants used forged documents to cheat MCOT out of 138 million baht in advertising revenue during Sorrayuth's tenure as host of his news talk programme on Channel 9 between 2005 and 2006.

Montha was sentenced to 13 years and four months in jail and Pichapa to 20 years imprisonment.

Rai Som was fined 80,000 baht since it had already paid the 138 million baht back to MCOT as demanded.

Sorrayuth talks to the media after his release. WICHAN CHAROENKIATPAKUL

Earlier yesterday, judges of the Court of First Instance approved Sorrayuth and Montha's appeal against their convictions, indicating the case had grounds that need to be deliberated by the Supreme Court.

According to judicial procedures, if the defendants want to contest certain aspects of the case with the Supreme Court, judges from the lower court or the Appeal Court who handled the case must endorse the appeal.

Mon-anan Ruangcharas, Sorrayuth's lawyer, also submitted bail requests for his client and Montha yesterday.

Pichapa has yet to appeal or lodge a bail request. The appeal needs to be lodged within 30 days of the ruling, which in this case means by Sept 29. She can still petition the Supreme Court to extend the appeal deadline.

Sorrayuth earlier insisted he would not flee Thailand, saying this is not a solution to the problem. His comments were posted by the page administrator of his Facebook account while he was being detained in Bangkok Remand Prison late last month.

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