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Judge shoots self in Thai court after changing verdict

A judge, Mr. Kanakorn Pianchana, shot himself in the chest in an apparent suicide attempt after delivering a verdict in Yala’s provincial court.

A spokesman for the court said that Mr. Kanakorn is now out of danger after being rushed to the provincial hospital, adding that the judge might be suffering from stress.

A statement, purportedly written by Mr. Kanakorn, has been widely shared on social media and claims that he had been approached by someone who forced him to change the not guilty verdicts against five defendants.

Three of them were condemned to death and two sent to prison, despite the lack of sufficient evidence to convict any of them.

The judge claims that other junior judges in the court of first instance, like him, are also subjected to the same pressure.

He complained about the unfair treatment of judges in the court of first instance, such as working after office hours to write the verdicts without overtime pay and being forbidden from working in a second job to earn extra income, unlike doctors who can work at their own clinics after finishing their work in hospitals.

In the statement, the judge also urged lawmakers to amend the judicial charter to prevent senior judges from screening the verdicts of the judges in the court of first instance before they are delivered in court.