Chiranuch Premchaiporn
Chiranuch, a Thai website editor, leaves the Bangkok Criminal Court in Bangkok Reuters

Thai Webmaster Chiranuch Premchaiporn has been found guilty of royal insult charges and slapped an eight-month suspended sentence.

A Thai court convicted her of the charges that her website carried comments by other people insulting the revered monarchy. Chiranuch was punished for failing to remove the comments from the popular website Prachatai for 20 days. She was also fined 20,000 bahts (£ 404).

The case was widely seen as a test for freedom of expression in the country in which she was expected to face up to 20 years of jail term.

"The defendant cannot deny responsibility for taking care of content on her website," said Judge Kampol Rungrat while sentencing her, according to AFP.

The judge said the 44-year-old Chiranuch did not perform her duty in a timely manner and left the contents of the website a long time.

The judge also noted that the accused did not violate the law by herself and cooperated well with the court proceedings.

She has been charged with lese majeste and insulting the king. In 2009, the police raided Prachatai, a popular online news website, and arrested Chiranuch.

"I expected to be acquitted, but I found the judge's verdict logical and reasonable. However, I still think the verdict will have an impact on self-censorship," Chiranuch told reporters after the judgment, the Associated Press reported.

In 2010, Chiranuch was arrested again, after attending a conference on online freedom of expression.

Chiranuch was the first one to be prosecuted under cyber-crime laws which were enacted by the Thai government in 2007, according to AP. The cyber laws include prohibition on publishing material against national security and defaming the monarchy.

Chiranuch's verdict was delayed from 30 April because the judge needed more time to review documents submitted in the case.

On Tuesday, a day before the trial, a petition was submitted to the Thai parliament signed by around 30,000 supporters in favour of reforms in the freedom of expression laws.