James Christensen, who has been waiting for three years in Thailand for the appeals court to reach a verdict in the case against him, was on Thursday last week, 29 October, told that all charges against him were dropped. James will, however, still have to wait in Thailand for another 30 days, while the prosecution considers if they want to appeal the appeal courts decision. But after that he is free to leave.
If the video doesn’t show, click the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zKDP6jNxvY
James Christensen has since October 2006 been released against a 600.000 baht bail pieced together by 45 Danes, plus a few other nationalities. He has repeatedly dismissed all suggestions that he should rather flee the country instead of waiting for the appeal court to reach its verdict, saying it would not be honorable.
The 47 year old Dane was in 2006 sentenced to ten years imprisonment in Thailand for an alleged arson attempt on a farmer who was raising fighting cocks near his home in Langsuan in the South of Thailand. The two had a conflict as the farmer claimed it was James’ dogs that occasionally killed some of his young cocks. Initially James paid him 1000 baht for every dead chicken, but when he was one day confronted with a claim that could not possibly have been his dogs’ fault, he refused to pay. Then his dogs started dying from eating meat laced with rat poison.
Thursday morning, James arrived to the court along with his friend Veerapong from the local establishment, Gregers Moller, who has been managing the bail-out, local correspondent for Danish TV2 Tobias Jagd and the Danish Consul, Mrs Tove Wihlborg Andersen.
It took some time before he realized that the charges had been dropped against him because of lack of evidence against him.
After reading the verdict, the judge decided that James should be held in custody until the 30 days period expires, during which the prosecution can decide to appeal the verdict. But the court accepted that the same bail of 600.000 baht, posted in October 2006, was posted again and James was therefore allowed to leave for Bangkok the same afternoon.
If the video doesn’t show, click the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iWz2bZ-kHbM
If the prosecution decides to appeal the verdict, James will be prohibited from leaving Thailand for another five years while the case rests with the supreme appeals court. Bail will likely be set at a much higher amount than the current 600.000 baht as this is the last chance to appeal the case. If so, the current amount will no longer be sufficient, which could mean that James would have to await the result in custody which is similar to being imprisoned for five years. During this period, the extradition procedure of James to Denmark can not even get started also a pre-condition is that the person in question is serving a final verdict.
Prior to the court hearing, James had prepared himself for the possibility that the sentence might be upheld or that it may be reduced. In both cases he would then have requested transfer to the mental hospital in Suratthani, where he was briefly hospitalized during his one and a half year imprisonment in 2005 to 2006. He had brought a letter from a psychiatrist in Bangkok, where he had been treated, to the hospital in Suratthani. Based on this, the Suratthani hospital had issued a letter to be handed to the prison requesting his transfer to the hospital for treatment of his excessive self medication and his mental disorder.
James has an appointment with the hospital on 14 November which will now be moved to the 29th of November, the day before he will appear in the court again in Langsuan to hear if the prosecution will appeal or agree to the dropping of all charges against him.
If the video doesn’t show, click the following link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYARdJZ06iY