Judge shoots himself in court after being pressured to give guilty verdict

A judge shot himself in the chest in a Yala court in Thailand after he was reportedly pressured to hand down a guilty verdict on Friday.

The judge, Khanakorn Pianchana pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the chest after he was reportedly pressured to find five defendants guilty of murder and firearms charges despite the lack of evidence against them.

Judge shoots himself in court after being pressured to give guilty verdict


Mr Khanakorn was rushed to hospital for surgery but his injuries were not life-threatening, the Bangkok Post reported.

A statement attributed to him that circulated online claimed his superiors had tried to force him to change the verdicts to guilty.

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The verdicts could have condemned three of the men to death and sent two to prison. The evidence did not support a guilty verdict, the statement said.

A 25-page statement he posted on Facebook before the incident, shows that the case he was hearing concerned national security and was related to secret association, conspiracy and gun-law offences.

Mr Khanakorn’s alleged statement also criticised the security situation in the south of Thailand, where a Muslim separatist insurgency has led to around 6,000 deaths since 2004 amid accusations of army brutality.

The statement said the confessions obtained from alleged insurgents in harsh conditions of detention were not convincing evidence.

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It also recounted an earlier case, in which he was allegedly pressured to ease the sentences against three soldiers involved in killing a civilian because he was told they were carrying out their state duties.

The statement went on to protest about how junior judges were treated unfairly, claiming many were forced to work overtime to write verdicts and are forbidden from taking a second job to earn extra money.

It called for a change in the law to prevent senior judges from reviewing the verdicts of junior judges before they are issued.

A spokesman for the court told Thailand’s public broadcaster the judge had shot himself due to stress.

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