UK expat trapped in Thailand due to legal chaos

Posted on 16 Jan at 6 PM in Legal Visas
Story link: UK expat trapped in Thailand due to legal chaos
UK expat trapped in Thailand due to legal chaos

UK expat trapped in Thailand due to legal chaos

After a three-year legal battle was resolved in his favour, British expat Lee Chestnutt has been prevented from leaving Thailand due to his accuser’s lodging of an appeal.

Originally, Lee Chestnutt was accused by his Bangkok landlord of criminal damage and theft of furniture from his rented apartment. Although all charges against him were dropped in 2011, he was not able to leave the country as his former landlord had lodged an appeal, locking him into a protracted legal battle.

In December last year, the unnamed landlord’s appeal was rejected by a Bangkok court, with the original not guilty verdict upheld, and Mr Chestnutt began making plans to leave the country and return to the UK. When his lawyer went to collect his client’s exit visa, he was told that the landlord had decided to lodge another appeal, this time to Thailand’s Supreme Court, meaning that Chestnutt was again disallowed from leaving Thailand.

According to the BBC, Mr Chestnutt, a chemical engineer who came to Asia some 20 years ago, is very angry at this latest manouvre, particularly as he is unable to get a work permit due to his legal circumstances. He told reporters the former landlord had been given 30 days to appeal, but had lodged late and is now petitioning the Supreme Court for an extra 60 days in which to present his appeal.

Chestnutt added that, if the court allows the extra time and accepts the appeal, it could take between five and 10 years for the case to be heard, during which time he would be trapped in Thailand. Eric Ollerenshaw, Conservative MP for Mr Chestnutt’s former constituency, has been attempting without success to end the legal chaos by meeting with two of Thailand’s foreign ministers.

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