A file photo of the Criminal Court.
A file photo of the Criminal Court.

BANGKOK — A man diagnosed with mental illness on Thursday was convicted of violating the Computer Crime Act, though he avoided a more serious crime under royal defamation.

According to legal watchdog iLaw, the 30-year-old man whom they identified only as “Sichon” was found guilty by the Criminal Court of disseminating contents deemed to pose a threat to national security. He was sentenced to three years in prison.

iLaw described Sichon as a man diagnosed with an unspecified mental condition.
The defendant was granted bail by the court.

Police initially charged him with insulting the monarchy when they arrested him in 2018. He was accused of writing offensive comments two years earlier about the late King Bhumibol.

Defaming the monarchy, or lese majeste, is punishable by up to 15 years in jail. The prosecutor later dropped the charge, and only pursued a lesser offense of cybercrime against him.

Although Sichon’s father testified that his son is crippled by mental conditions, the court said evidence suggested that Sichon appeared to be sane when he committed the crime, iLaw said.

So-called insanity defense generally don’t hold up in court in cases that involve the monarchy. In 2014, a court found a woman guilty of lese majeste for stepping over a portrait of King Rama IX, despite her history of mental illness.