Thai judge shoots himself in court after criticising judicial system

A Thai judge shot himself in the chest in front of a packed court on Friday 4th October after acquitting several murder suspects and decrying the kingdom's judicial system in an impassioned speech broadcast on Facebook Live.

Kanakorn Pianchana, a judge at Yala court in the heart of the insurgency-battered Thai south, was delivering the verdict for five Muslim suspects in a gun murder case on Friday afternoon.

He acquitted the group, delivered a courtroom plea for a cleaner justice system, before pulling out a handgun and shooting himself in the chest. 

"You need clear and credible evidence to punish someone. So, if you're not sure, don't punish them," the judge said addressing the court and broadcasting his words on his phone on Facebook live.

"I'm not saying that the five defendants didn't commit the crimes, they might have done so...

"But the judicial process needs to be transparent and credible... punishing wrong people makes them scapegoats."

The Facebook feed then cut, but witnesses said Kanakorn recited a legal oath in front of the former Thai king's portrait, before shooting himself in the chest.

Pianchana survived and was rushed to hospital where he went on to recover from his injuries.