Buth Reaksmey Kongkea
A 56-YEAR-OLD British man was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 20 million riels (about US$5,000) in absentia yesterday, on charges of raping a 17-year-old girl in Phnom Penh in 2009.
Presiding Judge of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Ker Sakhorn, said that David John Fletcher, was guilty of a rape committed in Phnom Penh in 2009.
Although Fletcher escaped to Thailand in 2010 in order to avoid prosecution, he was arrested by Thai authorities on immigration charges on January 23 and is currently being detained in a Thai prison.
“The court also orders concerned authorities to take measures and action to bring this convicted person from Thailand to jail in Cambodia, where he committed the crime,” Ker Sakhorn added.
Peng Maneth, the victim’s lawyer, said he accepted the court’s verdict but asked the court to do everything in its power to bring the suspect to serve his jail term in Cambodia.
“I appreciate the court’s verdict for the convicted person. I think that his sentence and the compensation payment are appropriate for the crime he had committed it and for the victim. However, to ensure that he will really serve his jail terms as the court’s verdict, I would like to ask the court to rule and bring him to jail in Cambodia as soon as possible,” she said.
She added that a major problem with convicting foreigners of sex crimes in Cambodian courts is that they are extradited to other countries to serve jail terms before they pay compensation to their victims, or they escape prosecution altogether.
Peng Maneth also said asked that Fletcher serves out a full sentence.
David John Fletcher’s lawyer Ouk Syroeun, could not be reached for comment yesterday. Fletcher has the right to appeal within 30 days.