Thailand’s Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant today (Thursday) for former director-general of the Department of Special Investigation, Tarit Pengdit, to ensure his presence at the court to hear the verdict of the Supreme Court, expected to be read on March 24th.

Tarit failed to show up at the Criminal Court today to hear the verdict in a case in which he and four other officials were charged with malfeasance in office by former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban.

His lawyer told the court that Tarit asked for a postponement of the appointment, because he had an operation on January 29th, to remove a kidney stone, and has to remain in hospital for recuperation and observation for about three months. This was the seventh postponement requested by Tarit.

Prosecution council did not object to Tarit’s request for the postponement, but asked the court to make the guidelines clear regarding the reading of the court’s verdict, pointing out that the defendant has already postponed the verdict reading multiple times.

Moreover, the doctor’s certificate, submitted by the defendant via his lawyer, did not make clear how long the defendant would remain in hospital for his convalescence.

After hearing the prosecution council’s point of view, the court ruled that the defendant was deliberately delaying the legal proceedings and he might try to escape. Therefore, the court decided to issue an arrest warrant.

The court also ordered the defendant’s guarantor to pay a fine within 15 days for the defendant’s failure to appear in court seven times.

Tarit and three co-defendants were acquitted by the Criminal Court, but the Appeals Court sentenced them to two years each without suspension. The Supreme Court’s verdict is yet to be read due to Tarit’s postponements.



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