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Defamation charges dropped against BBC reporter Jonathan Head

PHUKET: The criminal defamation charge in Phuket against British BBC journalist Jonathan Head has been withdrawn, reports the BBC.

Thursday 24 August 2017, 08:51AM

Mr Head appeared in Phuket Provincial Court yesterday (Aug 23) for the start of a criminal defamation trial brought by a lawyer who featured in an investigation about foreigners being scammed of their retirement homes.

The prosecution was sparked by a 2015 report by Mr Head detailing how two foreign retirees had Phuket properties stolen from them by a network of criminals and corrupt officials.

One of the victims, British national Ian Rance, is a joint defendant in the prosecution.

Both Mr Head and Mr Rance pleaded not guilty.

However, Mr Head also faced an additional charge under the Criminal Crimes Act, which could have incurred a penalty of up to five years in jail.

“The plaintiff has withdrawn his case against BBC journalist Jonathan Head, but as the trial of his co-defendant is continuing, we cannot comment further at present,” a BBC statement said. (See story here.)

Mr Head posted the news on his own Twitter account, saying, “All charges against me in Phuket defamation case have now been dropped. Great relief for me but case against codefendant Ian Rance continues.”

“Many thanks for tremendous support and interest in my defamation case, now dropped. As case against Ian Rance I can't say more now,” he added in another post. (See here.)



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Christy Sweet | 25 August 2017 - 14:29:03

Seems the lawyer has wisely realized BBC is too much of a bite to chew, however the unfortunate Mr. Rance, already suffering from financial losses would seem a far more palatable mark.

I too, agree with the new comment policy but would like to see it go further with only real names allowed. Once upon a time newspapers required an  address and a phone number which certainly provided a much needed  foundation for civility. Let's get back to that, please because IMO, people who use fake names are intellectual cowards. 

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malczx7r | 24 August 2017 - 12:59:30

"i don't complain about everything!" really??

Yep crazy that someone convicted and sentenced so therefore guilty then the lawyer claims he's been insulted, I think a case of you reap what you sow.  Maybe it will go worldwide and then the property bubble will burst and the islands ruin from over expansion will reverse.

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Sue Yu2 | 24 August 2017 - 12:33:43

I'm glad that the charges have been dropped against Jonathan Head, they were misguided. Thank you PN for your new stance on comments as the constant jibes were driving me crazy!

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CaptainJack69 | 24 August 2017 - 12:27:34

What a relief for Mr Head. This entire case has been a travesty. The lawyer who brought the charges against him was proven to be guilty in another ruling, yet somehow this spurious case against Mr Head has been permitted to continue. How can someone been tried for defamation when what he wrote has been proven true in a court of law?

In the mean-time Mr Heads passport has been with-held by the authorities making it impossible for him to do his job as a journalist.

A positive story, just a shame it took 2 years for justice to be done.

PS: I've mentioned Mr Head by name in my comments, I hope that's OK under your new rules Phuket News?

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Eagle | 24 August 2017 - 12:10:13

Bad idea PN.It would be more interesting to see how many people would still comment here if they had to give their real names.Guess the thai bashing would stop immediately.At least Mr.Head signed his investigations with his own name,whereas those computer cowards here don't.And yes,i use a fake name too,but i wouldn't have to worry to use a real name,as i don't insult Thais or complain about everything.

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malczx7r | 24 August 2017 - 11:26:18

A great idea PN

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Editor | 24 August 2017 - 09:37:42

Due to the growing unsavoury tone of many comments posted alongside our stories, The Phuket News is now not allowing ANY comments that mention any other person by name. Direct your comments to the issues at hand, and you should be fine.
Thank you for your understanding.
-- The Phuket News team

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