Democrat Party politician Thepthai’s jail term upheld

Thepthai: Intends to appeal
Thepthai: Intends to appeal

The Appeal Court on Tuesday upheld a two-year prison sentence against Democrat Party politician Thepthai Senpong and his younger brother, Manote Senpong, over fraud in a 2014 local election.

The lawsuit was filed by Pichai Boonyakiat, a former Nakhon Si Thammarat PAO chairman, who accused the brothers of vote-buying after they threw a party for voters ahead of the election for the Nakhon Si Thammarat provincial administration organisation (PAO) chief.

Provincial election officials filed a complaint with police in Muang district against the brothers seven years ago, but due to a lack of progress in that case, Mr Pichai decided to file a separate lawsuit.

The provincial court originally jailed the pair for three years, later reduced to two years, and also handed down a 10-year election ban against both men.

In January this year the Constitutional Court stripped Mr Thepthai of his status as a Democrat MP, prompting a by-election in Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Constituency 3 on March 7, duly won by Ayasit Srisuwan, of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party.

Mr Ayasit gained 48,701 votes in the hotly contested constituency, beating the Democrat Party’s Pongsin Senpong by about 4,000 votes.

Following yesterday’s Appeal Court decision, defence lawyers hurried to prepare a bail application as the brothers prepared to appeal their sentences at the Supreme Court.

Both had been freed on bail after their conviction in August last year.