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26 Jun 2018

Mr Witthaya Phromprasit, Ms Worajit Saengsook & Mr Natthaphong Thapananetiphong, The Southern Bangkok Criminal Court (Thailand)

Thailand: English translation of seminal judgement in favour of migrant worker & business and human rights defender Andy Hall which states work of defenders is in public interest

"Judgement: Criminal Case Between Natural Fruit Company Ltd.  (Plaintiff) Mr Andy Hall OR Mr Andrew Jonathan Hall (Defendant) Concerning:  Defamation, violation of the Computer-Related Crimes Act", 31 May 2018

...Finnwatch’s purpose was to have the defendant conducted a research to find out if there had been any human rights violation in the plaintiff’s factory because Finland focused on the safety of consumer goods. It was necessary for the consumers to know where the goods came from and if there was any human rights violation involved, which was to comply with the standards of the International Labour Organization in association with the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) system… Finnwatch could be regarded as a representative of the consumers to engage in examining the fact about the said issue… Those agencies, to which Finnwatch sent its email messages...were organizations or agencies directly responsible for the examination, protection and promotion of workers’ rights. Apart from the dissemination of the said information, the press conference organized by Finnwatch to inform those attended the conference was in the public interest... [T]he public as well as concerned people had the right to disclose the said information so that the problems could be solved in the future. The act of Finnwatch was thus deemed as an expression of opinion or statement in good faith, by way of self-justification or defence or for the protection of legitimate interest and by way of fair comment on any person or thing subjected to public criticism... Such act of Finnwatch was therefore not deemed as an offense...

Part of the following timelines

Court finds Andy Hall guilty of defamation; activists say verdict a setback in the fight against modern-day slavery

Natural Fruit Company lawsuits (re defamation suits against Andy Hall, Thailand)