‘I’m ready – and I will win my case’

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A migrant rights activist from Spalding says he is prepared to face court in Bangkok - even though the authorities have been told he can’t be found.

Andy Hall failed to turn up for the hearing of a criminal defamation case against him on Monday, for the fourth time.

In April, Mr Hall (33) – whose sister Joanne Clay and parents Pat and Des Hall live in Spalding – was accused of civil and criminal charges by Thai company Natural Fruit after producing a report claiming Burmese workers were being abused while working to produce goods sold in Europe and the US.

If proved, he faces a claim for damages of US$10million and being sent to jail.

On Monday, the court allowed Natural Fruit more time to locate him and also instructed the plaintiff’s lawyer to prepare English language versions of all documents required in the lawsuit.

Should Natural Fruit fail to find Mr Hall, the official channel of filing the criminal charge against a defendant would be expedited - the Office of the Court of Justice would send charge-related documents to the British Embassy, asking them to locate the permanent address of the defendant so the process could be completed.

Mr Hall told the Spalding Guardian he was well, still working in Bangkok and puzzled why he had not been found.

He said: “They have one of the best lawyers in Thailand prosecuting me, but cannot find me when I am in and out of Thailand all the time.

“The NF has to fulfil its legal duty to file the case on me properly before the court then rules on the merits of the case.

“Then the court either allows an arrest warrant to be issued for me to come to trial if I have documents and don’t turn up, or allows me to claim bail on assurance I won’t run away.

“Once the case is accepted, the court can then also restrict my liberty at any time and prevent me from leaving Thailand, even confiscate my passport.

“I can also be imprisoned if not granted bail.”

However, Mr Hall says he is ready to face court.

He said: “I’m ready to go to court and defend myself once I am summoned legally.

“I will win the case and NF will lose even more than they have already when the truth comes out.”