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ResourcesThailand Criminal LawAttorney Services and Prison VisitationCriminal Prosecution in Thailand: the Trial Phase

Criminal Prosecution in Thailand: the Trial Phase

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing the trial phase of criminal prosecution here in the Kingdom of Thailand.

This video comes on the heels of multiple videos which came before it; it is one in a series. I urge those who are watching this video that haven't seen the other videos in the series, go to the search function on our channel and click Criminal Prosecution in Thailand: Police Investigation Phase. That will take you to the first video we made on this channel with respect to this overall topic and that video will they move you through the topics that bring you up to the trial phase. So this is simply a video about the trial phase of the overall process. Another thing that should be noted as a preface to this video; I am an American Attorney. I am not qualified as a Thai Attorney. I am qualified in the United States as an American Attorney.  I am a citizen of the Kingdom of Thailand but I am not a qualified attorney in the Kingdom of Thailand. I am the Managing Director of our firm here in Bangkok and I do liaise with our Thai Attorneys who have acted in representative capacity in criminal matters here in the Kingdom and they have gone ahead and vetted the information that I am providing; sort of the bullet points that I am providing. This video should only be viewed as an informal superficial informational video to provide just a basic overview of how the overall process works. It should not be seen as anything akin to specific legal advice. Those who are watching this are very well advised to contact a legal professional, a Thai Attorney specifically if they are involved in a criminal matter in the Kingdom of Thailand in order to place themselves on the best possible footing with respect to defending themselves against a criminal accusation. 

Now specific to this video, we are discussing the trial itself. So we have moved through the initial inquiries with the police; we have moved through the prosecution's inquiries; we have moved through the plea and we have moved through the bail phase, now we are dealing with the actual trial. So not unlike the United States, there is a discovery procedure here in the Kingdom. So basically the rules require the prosecution and the defense need to produce their evidence and witness list that is going to be used in the trial prior to the trial itself and there is some advantage provided to the defense in that prosecutors are generally required to provide their evidence list and their witness list 15 days prior to the commencement of the trial proceedings whereas the defendant is only required to go ahead and remit that information pertaining to them one day prior to the actual commencement of the proceedings. The prosecution, not unlike the United States, needs to go ahead and prove the elements of the accusation at hand; they need to prove the elements of the charge. Laid out in the statutory law, there is a specific set of conditions precedent, that need to be met and in the totality if they can show that the factual scenario at hand, the alleged facts at hand, meet the requirements set forth and the elements set forth in the law, then they will go ahead and presumably prevail in the overall case.

Now that being said, the defense is allowed to go ahead and challenge the facts; to go ahead and challenge whether or not the facts meet the elements set forth at law; they are allowed to go ahead and make objections to specific evidence and they are allowed to go ahead and directly and through cross-examination, examine various witnesses. So obviously one's going to directly examine one's own witnesses and cross-examine the witnesses of the counterparty. So not unlike the US system there are similarities. Here is where is dissimilar.  In Thai legal proceedings even criminal proceedings this isn't a jury trial, this is a bench trial and there are evidentiary proceedings which the Judge in the trial needs to go ahead and make determinations upon. That being said, that judge can make determinations as to whether or not to permit or exclude evidence where evidence has to be excluded or written record needs to be made with respect to the reasons for the exclusion as that issue may be brought up on appeal later which we will make other videos with respect to Criminal appeals; that is beyond the bailiwick of this video at this time. It should be noted that it is not going to be a jury trial in Thailand; you are looking at a bench trial. But that being said, the sort of procedural aspects of a criminal trial in Thailand are not dissimilar all that much at all really from the way that these things would process through the United States obviously with the exception of things like voir dire and jury selection which aren't present in the Thai criminal prosecution system; this is where you are going to deal with things. So now that the judge has heard the evidence, they have gone ahead and sort of made findings of fact, conclusions of law, excluded evidence where necessary, the Judge is going to go ahead and make a decision and if the Judge goes ahead and determines that an individual is innocent of the charges at hand, then "happy day" that individual is going to be you know basically be "free to go" in a criminal capacity. If found guilty then they need to go ahead and access fines and penalties. At this point of the process the Judge will go ahead and make determinations with respect to sentencing be it you know in a criminal proceeding it could simply be penalties like fines or you could be looking at incarceration depending on the nature of the charges.