Thai conviction appeal backed

The Times has lent its support to freelance Andrew Drummond in his bid to overturn a conviction for libel in Thailand, writes Dominic Ponsford.

Drummond was given a two-month suspended sentence and could face deportation because of a story which made allegations about two owners of a sex club. He is currently mounting an appeal.

Although Drummond regularly files copy for The Times, the story he is being prosecuted over appeared in the Bangkok Post and the Glasgow-based Sunday Herald.

Times associate foreign editor David Watts said: “We have written to anybody who is anybody on the Thai Government making representations on his behalf. It’s very clear that the charges against him are trumped up and we are very concerned. Apart from anything else Andrew is facing deportation from the country he has been living in for the past 20 years.”

Drummond was sued by Scotsman James Lumsden, the co-owner of a nightclub in the resort of Pattaya called “Boys, Boys, Boys”. His story alleged that Lumsden had defrauded a business associate of thousands of pounds after he was framed and imprisoned for drug smuggling.

Drummond’s story was backed up by Thai Police General Noppadol Somboonsap and by the British Consul in Thailand.

He also presented evidence that Lumsden had previously stolen £250,000 from another former business colleague who died in a suspicious fire.

Drummond said: “Mr Lumsden did not sue in Britain because he would be laughed out of court. In Thailand it is a regrettable but indisputable fact that one can buy judges and policemen.

“We presented the evidence in court that Lumsden had been paying local police for years. The judge probably did not like that. “He stopped the case before I had finished presenting witnesses. I assumed wrongly that he thought the charge had absolutely no substance. “This ruling means that every time we find a British villain in Pattaya, which is fast becoming the new Costa del Crime, he can seek the comfort of local police and the local courts.”

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