Thai libel trial ends with conviction for UK freelance

A libel case brought by the owners of a sex club against freelance journalist and Times Thailand correspondent Andrew Drummond has left him with a criminal conviction and legal debts.

Drummond was given a six-month suspended sentence and ordered to pay a 60,000 Baht (£800) fine after a trial in Thailand this week.

James Lumsden from Falkirk sued after a report in the Bangkok Post, which also appeared in several British newspapers. It documented claims that he and his partner Gordon May, from Edinburgh, had allegedly cheated two Britons who had invested in their nightclub Boyz, Boyz, Boyz.

One of the investors died in a suspicious fire and the other was jailed after police found drugs in his baggage. The second investor claimed he was set up.

Steve Turner, general secretary of Drummond’s union, the British Association of Journalists, said: “This case would have been laughed out of court in the UK. Drummond has acted in the finest traditions of journalism and deserves the support of all journalists for his courageous reporting.”

After Monday’s verdict, Drummond said: “Having worked in Thailand for 15 years, I’m not particularly surprised.

I remain in awe of a Pattaya Police special investigation which states that there is no sex trade going on in this club called Boyz, Boyz, Boyz.”

He plans to appeal his conviction.

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