Offices Responsible for Criminal Prosecution
The Royal Thai Police
The Royal Thai Police is one government authority concerned with criminal prosecution in Thailand. Aside from being generally responsible for peace keeping and crime prevention in the country, the police is likewise responsible for initiating criminal processes in the state. Criminal inquiries are launched by the police for crimes reported to them. The inquiry is concentrated on the finding of probable cause against the accused. This is conducted by gathering statements from possible witnesses and resources from other forms of evidence. Whether the police finds probable cause or not, it is obliged to send a recommendation to the public prosecutor.
Arrestees are also taken promptly to the Police, who are responsible for reading and explaining to them their arrest warrant.
The Office of the Attorney General
This office is responsible for receiving the recommendations of the Royal Thai Police after it conducts its inquiry. The Office of the Attorney General makes further study of the recommendation made but is primarily mandated to decide whether to file the criminal case or not against the accused.
The Office may remand the recommendation back to the Police if it deems the report insufficient to make a conclusion. If it finds reason to prosecute, a Prosecution Order is filed by the Office against the accused in court. It is also this office which prepares an indictment and gives a copy to the accused or his counsel. It may also make recommendation on whether to keep the accused in custody pending litigation, or to allow for his provisional release. But after the case is formally filed, it is already the court which decides on the accused’s commitment or release during the trial period.
The Prosecutor is responsible for bringing a criminal prosecution on behalf of the government.
The Courts of Justice
The Courts of Justice are those which try and adjudicate cases of civil and criminal nature. It has jurisdiction over cases not embraced under the jurisdiction of the Constitutional, Administrative and Military Courts.
Courts of Justice are of three levels: the Court of First Instance, the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court.
The Courts of First Instance are trial courts. There are three types of Courts of First Instance: General Courts, Juvenile and Family Courts, and Specialized Courts.
General Courts are courts which have jurisdiction to hear civil and criminal cases.
Juvenile and Family courts, on the other hand, try controversies involving children and family relationships. This is where cases related to divorces, child custody or visitation, child legitimation and repudiation, and the like are filed and heard.
Specialized courts are those with jurisdiction to hear cases of particular concern. Courts under this category include the Central Bankruptcy Court, the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court, the Labour Court and the Tax and Duty Court.
The Courts of Appeal are courts which hear and adjudicate appeals from judgments and orders of the Courts of First Instance. The appellate courts can hear appeals on both questions of law and fact. Additionally, this court has original jurisdiction to hear cases involving the removal or revocation of the right to vote of any member of a local assembly or any local administrator.
The Supreme Court (Dika Court) is the highest court of the country. It has jurisdiction over cases appealed from the Courts of Appeal, subject to some restrictions provided by the Code of Civil Procedure and the Code of Criminal Procedure, as well as other procedural codes for application in Specialized Courts. The Supreme Court can hear appeals on questions of law and, in certain cases, on questions of fact. It also has original jurisdiction in cases involving the removal or revocation of the right to vote of members of the National Assembly.
The judge assigned to hear the case may be requested to inhibit, based on any of these grounds:
- He has some interest in the case;
- He is related to the defendant or a witness;
- He has previously given testimony about the case (as an expert witness);
- He has, in the past, represented a defendant or witness as a lawyer;
- He sat as judge in another court on the same case;
- He has a separate legal matter pending against the accused;
- He is a debtor or employer of a defendant or witness;
- Has some other important issue that may cause to lose impartiality in deciding the case.
The Department of Corrections
The Department of Corrections is responsible for keeping in custody sentenced offenders. But more importantly, this Department takes care of rehabilitating inmates so they can return as useful members of society after serving their sentence.