Following a lengthy trial relating to the demolition of Sukhumvit Square bars and shops in early-2003, the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court Thursday acquitted former Chat Thai MP Chuwit Kamolvisit and his associates.
But a corporate lawyer was sentenced to eight months in jail after evidence showed his involvement in the case.
A lawsuit filed by 103 plaintiffs had demanded Bt103 million in compensation and maximum penalties. It claimed that, at about 4am on January 26, 2003, Chuwit and his accomplices had bulldozed 60 beer bars and shops on the 10-rai square and then cordoned off the area, barring business owners from returning to see what was left.
However, charges of damaging property, intrusion, illegal detention and forcing others to act against their will against Chuwit, Lt-Colonel Himalai Phewphan of the Supreme Command, Army Major Thanyathep Thamathorn and 126 others were dismissed by the court on the grounds that the plaintiffs' testimonies did not carry enough weight.
The incident took place during darkness and it was impossible to identify who carried out the demolition, the court said.
The charges against Chuwit were not strong, as he was merely the property owner who had sublet it to others, while there was no evidence against Himalai, Thanyathep and other security guards who were in charge of the area's security.
However, the court found evidence of the involvement of lawyer Chanvej Malaibucha, who worked for the Nickel Company that carried out the demolition. He was initially sentenced to one year in jail, but this was reduced to eight months because of his useful testimony.
Khun Chuwit for next PM!