Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ending speculation

Last night I speculated about the Three News story buried by the police, suggesting that it was about the Taito Phillip Field case. It seems I was right. The injunction has been lifted, and the Herald reports that Thai tiler Sunan Siriwan is complaining of financial hardship while he is waiting to give evidence:

A key witness in the corruption and bribery trial of former Government Minister Taito Phillip Field has complained about the financial hardship his family is suffering while he waits to give evidence.

Sunan Siriwan, a Thai tiler who allegedly did work for Field in exchange for help with immigration matters, isn't likely to give evidence until later this month. It's understood Siriwan and his family are experiencing financial difficulty.


Mr Siriwan and his wife Aurnporn Phanngarm are upset authorities have failed to provide for them when it is the police who want him to stay in the country to give evidence.

So, they drag him back to help make their case, and then he is left to starve. That is simply shameful, and if it is how witnesses are treated, then they are likely to be much more reluctant to testify in these sorts of cases in the future.

Also shameful are the actions of the police and Field's lawyers in seeking to censor this news. As the judge pointed out when dismissing the injunction, there was nothing in the report which touched directly on the trial or threatened its integrity. Instead, the police seem to be trying to abuse the court process to prevent publication of embarassing news, aided and abetted by a defence trying to keep the whole thing out of the news entirely. As lawyers and officers of the court, they should both have more respect for the right to freedom of expression affirmed in the BORA.