A senior court judicial judge shot himself in the chest on Friday at a provincial court in southern Thailand. The incident reportedly took place in a third-floor courtroom.
Judge Khanakorn Phianchana, the chief judge at Yala Provincial Court, was seriously injured and rushed to the hospital after he shot himself with his own handgun in a courtroom.
After having delivered a verdict, the judge mumbled to attendees in the courtroom, saying he was so tired of living his life overwhelmed by work.
Moments later, he rose to his feet, turned his back to the attendees, quickly drew the handgun from his suit and shot himself.
Suriyan Hongvilai, spokesman of the Office of the Judiciary, said Judge Khanakorn had apparently acted out of stress from personal issues.
Office of the Judiciary to Launch a Fact-Finding Probe
A 25-page statement Judge Khanakorn posted on Facebook before he shot himself was circulating on social media on Friday. The document was not visible on Facebook at press time last night.
The document states the case he was hearing concerned national security. It was related to secret association, conspiracy and gun-law offenses.
The document allegedly described disagreements among senior judges over the case ruling. A case in which Mr Khanakorn reportedly decided to acquit all five defendants.
Messages reading “Return the ruling to the judges” and “Return justice to the people” were repeated three times.
The Court of Justice has neither confirmed nor denied the authenticity of the circulated document.
Future Forward Party secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul declared he did not believe the suicide attempt stemmed from stress.
He said Judge Khanakorn had been sending him information since early September, asking him to help make it the public.
A judicial source told the Bangkok Post that the Courts of Justice statute authorities a regional chief judge to advise the chief of a judges panel on how to approach a case involving a serious offense.
However, the judging panel chief has the right to ignore the advice if he is confident in the evidence. The source added that the chief of the judging panel has the right to return the case. The judge may ask the regional chief judge to set up a new panel of judges in order to re-examine evidence.
But if the new judging panel is of the same opinion as the previous one. The new panel must deliver a ruling accordingly, the source said.