Jonathan Head: Thailand charges dropped against BBC reporter

BBC foreign correspondent Jonathan Head arrives at court to fight defamation charges brought against him by a Thai lawyer in Phuket on 23 August 2017. Image copyright AFP
Image caption Jonathan Head arrives at court on Wednesday to fight the defamation charges

Charges have been withdrawn against a BBC journalist and his co-defendant in a criminal defamation case in Thailand.

Jonathan Head faced up to five years in jail if he had been convicted.

He and Ian Rance appeared in court in Phuket at the start of the trial on Wednesday and pleaded not guilty.

Mr Rance was interviewed by the BBC for a story examining real estate corruption. The plaintiff dropped charges against him on Thursday, a day after withdrawing them against Mr Head.

A BBC spokesperson said: "We're pleased with this outcome. Jonathan Head is an excellent and highly respected correspondent and we have stood by his journalism throughout.

"We regret the case against Jonathan and Ian Rance was ever brought and we are pleased it is over."