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Pineapple defamation case finally dismissed for activist Andy Hall

Neill Fronde

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PHOTO: British activist Andy Hall had his final pending defamation case dismissed. (via Facebook)

After fighting multiple defamation charges for nearly 10 years, British activist Andy Hall has been finally cleared of the last pending charge. Hall had lived for 12 years in Thailand before leaving in 2016 after fighting charges brought by the pineapple company Natural Fruit in Prachuap Khiri Khan when he had reported on their poor work conditions.

In 2012, Hall contributed to a report about these bad working conditions, child labour, and low wages at a local factory in Pranburi of the Natural Fruit company. Hall was originally found guilty of criminal defamation in 2016 and was given a suspended three-year prison sentence. Last June that conviction was overturned. Natural fruit then filed a 300 million baht civil defamation case but that was dropped last year before reaching trial.

The final case was a separate defamation charge stemming from a 2013 Al Jazeera interview that Hall had given. The Supreme Court overturned a lower Court’s ruling that Hall should pay 10 million baht in compensation charges. The Supreme Court dismissed the case after concluding that Hall’s criticisms were fair and that his reporting was honest and therefore the company did not deserve any financial compensation.

While Natural Fruit denied Hall’s original allegations of poor working conditions, the courts ruled that his interview was justified. In Thailand, defamation laws are strong and strict. Many human rights activists criticise these laws for allowing big businesses to silence activist and investigators with heavy-handed defamation cases.

Hall made a statement declaring that this dismissal of the last defamation charge was a relief but not a victory. He said he never had any intention of doing any damage to any legitimate business practices, and legal harassment for nearly a decade had affected his work, his family, and himself.

That relief was long-awaited as it turns out the Supreme Court decision Hall received yesterday about this final defamation case had actually been ruled by the courts nearly a year ago in June 2020. The official declaration was severely delayed in seeing the light of day because of delays and backups due to Covid-19.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Slugger

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 12:44 pm

    Lesson. Keep your beak out. Particularly overseas.

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 1:10 pm

    He should sue them for costs.
    So, it seems there were human rights violations, any chance of the Thais taking action?
    As much chance as gecko tap dancing.
    Boycott Natural Fruit Pineapples.

  3. Avatar

    Das

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 1:39 pm

    Lesson for the weak there, Slugger. Weak.

  4. Avatar

    Nigel

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 1:48 pm

    @Das, spot on comment. @Slugger and his mate Lord Haw Haw (aka Simon small/Issan John) are what you call blind sympathisers

  5. Avatar

    Mike

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 6:46 pm

    Lol at Slugger – seems to have bought into the stupid, narrow mindset of locals who believe foreigners have no business criticising Thailand in any way.

    Andy Hall should be compensated for his 10-year ordeal and commended for his excellent work.

    Thai people should be grateful to him for standing up to exploitative companies.

  6. Avatar

    Nigel

    Wednesday, May 12, 2021 at 9:31 pm

    @Mike. Well said and totally agree. This idea that foreigners have no right to criticise Thailand and the actions of Thais is utterly stupid. Only by constructive criticism and calling out the injustices that occur does a country change. Local people regularly call on “The International Community” when things go wrong. That therefore gives the international community the right to comment.

  7. Avatar

    Freddy

    Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 8:42 am

    Nobody claimed Thailand is a free country or a democracy.

  8. Avatar

    Simon Small

    Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 10:44 am

    “Only by CONSTRUCTIVE criticism and calling out the injustices that occur does a country change”

    If only that’s what most of the criticism by foreigners consisted of.

    As the Supreme Court said, “Hall’s criticisms were fair and his reporting was honest”.

    Sadly, very little of that applies to the uninformed garbage made by Westerners who feel slighted for not being given the “respect” and “friendship” they think they’re entitled to purely because they’re Westerners.

  9. Avatar

    Nigel

    Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 1:54 pm

    @Lord Haw Haw (@simon small) Not because they are westerners, but because they come from countries that have advanced the world so much, that just happen to belong to the countries referred to as western countries. A point which you won’t understand and consider it splitting hairs.

  10. Avatar

    Joe

    Saturday, May 15, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    @Simon Small – you know what would be a real improvement?, if you yourself kept it shut.

  11. Avatar

    SaengSom

    Tuesday, May 18, 2021 at 11:37 am

    I’m amazed the judicial system actually ruled against the Thai fruit company. I’d have thought the company would have bribed their way to a decision. These rulings reflect an actual independent judiciary can exist in Thailand.

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Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10 years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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