Court proceedings do take a while in Thailand. Always speak to a lawyer about Thai laws for foreigners. We are now at the court proceedings, this being very far from your initial arrest, detention as well as your bail application and your remand to a local prison if you did not get bail. The court date for your trial has now been set and the court proceedings now begin. Always speak to a criminal lawyer in Thailand before you do anything else after being arrested.
The following is very important with respect to the Thai legal system which differs from the West. The oral evidence given by any witnesses are going to be recorded as audio and transcribed by the clerk of the court. The judge will also record a summary of the testimony provided. Very important in the legal system in Thailand is that a witness who has only given an affidavit, the evidence provided in this manner is view as being hearsay.
The evidence is going to be arranged in the Court of First Instance however this is normally done within 6 (six) months since the meeting of the parties. If you did not receive bail, then you will be remanded again until the date of your trial which could be 6 months down the line since the meeting between your attorneys and the public prosecutor.
Witness would need to be scheduled and this is normally done on consecutive days which if not possible will create even more delays. Note that there are no time limits on this set by Thai law. It is possible that you will only see your day in court for trial 8-9 months after having been arrested.
If this is for example an assault charge and the victim who is not able to remain in Thailand for the trial may provide any evidence needed by the prosecution before they leave Thailand to go back to their home country. Once all the evidence has been examined and your trial ends it normally takes 2-4 weeks for the judgement to be made public. The judgement will include the following:
- – Summary of the criminal complaint;
- – The plea you entered;
- – The evidence provided by you and the prosecutor;
- – The findings of the court;
- – The verdict.
If you are found guilty the court will read out your sentence or punishment. If the sentence is for a period less than 3 years, the court can suspend the prison sentence if this was your first offence excluding petty offences. If you wish to appeal the judgement, then you have 30 days to lodge an appeal. Much like Western courts the Appeals Courts does not normally listen to new evidence. All the arguments are made in writing and the process is not public.
The Appeals Court will look at the evidence present in the First Court of Instance. The judges are not disclosed unlike in the West and no direct approach is allowed. Note that much like in the Western legal system the matter can take anywhere for 8 months to two years. Their judgement is placed in a sealed envelope and sent to the court where the trial occurred. They will then give another court date where the judgement is revealed. If you are still not satisfied, then with the same process as the Appeals Court you can appeal to the Supreme Court in Thailand.
Seek legal advice should you have been arrested in Thailand or have a family member who has been arrested in Thailand.
The information contained on our website is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. For further information, please contact us.