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Defamation Charges Dropped Against BBC Journalist

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A Thai lawyer has dropped charges against a Bangkok-based BBC correspondent in a criminal defamation case stemming from a report about a man losing his Phuket Island property through alleged fraud, the broadcaster announced Wednesday.

Journalist Jonathan Head had faced up to seven years in prison if found guilty on two charges against him. But a criminal defamation trial was set to continue against his co-defendant, Briton Ian Rance, the subject of a September 2015 report narrated by Head.

“The plaintiff has withdrawn his case against BBC journalist Jonathan Head, but as the trial of his co-defendant is continuing, we cannot comment further at present,” a BBC statement said.

“All charges against me in Phuket defamation case have now been dropped. Great relief for me but case against co-defendant Ian Rance continues,” Head said in a tweet.

Both men had appeared in a Phuket court early Wednesday for the start of the trial, at which the plaintiff called one witness, Rance told BenarNews earlier.

Rance alleged in the BBC report that his Thai ex-wife had forged his signature on documents that authorized the transfer of properties he owned on Phuket, a top destination for Western retirees.

Full story: BenarNews

BenarNews staff

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