A judge shot Himself on the chest after he was reportedly pressured to find several defendants guilty despite the lack of evidence against them in Yala courtroom, Thailand.
According to reports, Justice Kanakorn Pianchana acquitted five Muslim men of murder and firearms charges that could have condemned three to death.
After acquitting the five men, he addressed the court with an impassioned speech that he broadcast live on Facebook. He said:
“You need clear and credible evidence to punish someone. So if you’re not sure, don’t punish them,” he said.
“I’m not saying that the five defendants didn’t commit the crimes, they might have done so,” he added.
“But the judicial process needs to be transparent and credible… punishing the wrong people makes them scapegoats.”
Khanakorn Pianchana then recited a legal oath, pulled out a pistol and shot himself in the chest.
The judge survived after he was rushed to hospital where he underwent surgery for injuries that were reported not to have been life-threatening.
A statement he posted on Facebook before the incident, shows that the case he was hearing concerned national security and was related to secret association, conspiracy and gun-law offences.
In the statement, he accused his superiors of trying to force him to change the verdicts to guilty. Khanakorn contended that the evidence did not support a guilty verdict.
“At this moment, other fellow judges in Courts of First Instance across the country are being treated the same way as I was,” he wrote.
“[If] I cannot keep my oath of office, I’d rather die than live without honour.”
Messages reading “Return the ruling to the judges” and “Return justice to the people” were repeated three times in the document.
The statement is no longer visible online and the Court of Justice did not comment on its contents.