Fresh blow for Thai court man

Lee Chestnutt
Lee Chestnutt

A devastated Garstang couple face yet more misery as they wait for their son to be allowed out of Thailand.

Pat and Bruce Chestnutt, of The Mallards, flew out to Thaliand to spend Christmas with their son, and had expected he would be able to return home this month, after a long drawn-out court case lasting more than three years.

Lee Chestnut, 41, from Pilling, moved to Thailand to start his own business six years ago, but became locked in a dispute with a former landlord over alleged damage and furniture theft.

The fallout from the legal case left him unable to work or leave the country for three and a half years.

Although he won a court case two years ago, the landlord appealed, sparking a long wait for an appeal hearing, which finally took place in December. Now the landlord has appealed again, which means Lee will have to remain in Thailand until the case is heard.

Mr Chestnutt, who left home 20 years ago, said: “I thought it was all over, but now I don’t know how long I will have to stay here.

“I am not allowed to work, which is ridiculous.”

Even when he is eventually allowed to leave, he will have to wait for a visa to be approved, allowing him to leave Thailand.

But that itself is not without drama, as it will cost him £800 in fines for overstaying a visa he never had.

Ben Wallace, MP for Lancaster and Fleetwood, said: This is a tremendous setback for the family, who had been expecting him to return home this month.

“The landlord wants to make another appeal, but he should have done that within 30 days, and that has elapsed, so he is still trying to appeal.

“This is appalling for the family.

“At the end of the day we are talking about damaged furniture – not drugs or assaulting anyone.”