The Supreme Court held a hearing yesterday on the bail request of Australian filmmaker James Ricketson.
Mr Ricketson, 68, was arrested near Phnom Penh’s riverside area in June last year and charged with collecting information prejudicial to national defence, which falls under the treason and espionage section of the criminal code.
Photographs posted to Fresh News at the time of his arrest showed Mr Ricketson flying a drone over a CNRP rally heading from Wat Chas across the Chinese Friendship Bridge to the city centre on June 2.
He was subsequently jailed pending trial and rejected bail by the Appeal Court on August 9.
Mr Ricketson said in the hearing yesterday that he requested bail because he had not done anything unlawful and could not flee the country since his film equipment, worth about $50,000, and his passport had been confiscated.
“My mistake was flying a drone without asking prior permission,” he said.
He added that he was in no way involved with the CNRP.
Peung Yok Hiep, Mr Ricketson’s lawyer, said her client should be granted bail since he could not run away and would not “damage public order”.
Chhuon Chantha, deputy general director of the Supreme Court, said the accused was charged with a criminal crime, so the court should keep him in jail while the investigation into his offences is ongoing.
“Please uphold the Appeal Court’s decision,” Mr Chantha asked the judge.
Presiding judge Soeng Panhavuth said the verdict would be announced on January 17.