Connect with us


Defamation case against BBC’s Jonathan Head has been dropped



The Phuket lawyer, Pratuan Thanarak, who brought defamation charges against BBC broadcaster Jonathan Head, has dropped his criminal defamation suit. Head investigated foreigners being scammed of their retirement homes in Phuket in a 2015 BBC report.

Jonathan faced up to five years in jail over the charges. His report detailed how two foreign retirees had their properties ‘stolen’ from them by the alleged collaboration of lawyers and Phuket money-lenders.

Pratuan Thanarak decided to drop the charges against Head during the first day of the trial. In a short statement the BBC says “the plaintiff has withdrawn his case against BBC journalist Jonathan Head, but as the trial of his co-defendant is continuing we cannot comment further at present.”

As foreigners cannot own land in Thailand they have the option to get around the ownership laws by putting their interests under the trust of a Thai, often a partner or wife. The other option is setting up a majority Thai-owned company that ‘owns’ the property. Bottomline, the foreigner never really ‘owns’ the property (unless it’s a condominium where foreigners can own up to 49% of the units in the block).*

The 2015 BBC report features British national Ian Rance, a joint defendant in the case. As of the time of writing, he still faces a defamation charge and up to two years in jail if convicted. Rance claims he lost properties to the value of $1.2m after his wife and Phuket money-lenders forged property paperwork. Rance’s ex-wife is now serving four years in jail.

The BBC says it will continue to fund Ian Rance’s defamation defence. Both Pratuan and Rance have declined to comment when contacted by AFP saying that the proceedings are ongoing.

In 2015 local news portal Phuketwan closed down after funding a successful bid to defeat a suit brought by the Royal Thai Navy. Andrew Drummond, the Pattaya-based British crime reporter, left Thailand over multiple cases brought against him. British labour rights activist Andy Hall left late 2016 after a libel case against him was dismissed.

* Always seek professional legal advice and conduct due diligence when purchasing property in Thailand with qualified and properly accredited lawyers.



Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Tim Newton has lived in Thailand since 2011. An Australian, he has worked in the media, principally radio and TV, for 42 years. He has won the Deutsche Welle Award for best radio talk program (public radio Australia), presented over 11,000 radio news bulletins, 3,950 in Thailand alone, hosted 1050 daily TV news programs and produced 2,100 videos, TV commercials and documentaries. He also reported for CNN, Deutsche Welle TV, CBC, Australia's ABC TV and Australian radio during the 2018 Cave Rescue and other major stories in Thailand.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Insurgency14 mins ago

Landmines kill 1, injure 10 in Deep South of Thailand

Chon Buri54 mins ago

CSD requeseted to take over Mountain B Pub fire investigation

Bangkok1 hour ago

Broke Bangkok can’t afford to finish underground cables project

Sponsored1 day ago

British International School, Phuket: Reflecting on 25 years of world-class education

Crime2 hours ago

UPDATE: Foreigner faces prison for parrotfishing in Thailand

Cannabis2 hours ago

Malaysia considers medical cannabis law shaped by Thai policy

Thailand2 hours ago

Dangerous social media trend encourages Thai teens to take rohypnol

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Road deaths3 hours ago

Frenchman dies after being hit by sailor’s car in Phang Nga

Cultural Activities3 hours ago

British artist creates land art in tribute to Bangkok governor

Crime4 hours ago

Jealous Swedish man stabs Thai boyfriend in the chest in Pattaya, Thailand

Bangkok4 hours ago

Benevolent Bangkok cabbie drives 12 hours to take destitute family home

Thailand5 hours ago

Tenant fined 140,000 baht for keeping dog in Bangkok condominium | GMT

Crime20 hours ago

Court issues arrest warrant for Sia B’s father, the ‘real owner’ of Mountain B

Thailand20 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Tourism minister joins Full Moon Party on Koh PhaNgan

World21 hours ago

Monkeypox variants renamed to avoid offending people

Tourism21 hours ago

Thailand ranks as fourth most popular destination among Chinese travellers

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11