The Supreme Court appeal hearing for Oeuth Ang, the man convicted for gunning down political analyst Kem Ley in 2016, has been delayed after Mr Ang asked the court to appoint a lawyer to represent him in his case.
In 2017, Mr Ang, who is also known as Chuop Samlap, was sentenced to life imprisonment after Phnom Penh Municipal Court found him guilty of killing Mr Ley.
His appeal for either a lesser sentence or exoneration was rejected by the Appeal Court last year. Mr Ang is appealing to the Supreme Court to reduce his sentence.
At the Supreme Court yesterday, Mr Ang was asked by Judge Kong Srim whether he wants to find a lawyer himself or be provided one.
Mr Ang told the court that he needs the court to find him a lawyer because he is unable to afford legal representation.
“I request that the Supreme Court help me find a lawyer,” he said.
However, Judge Srim told Mr Ang that the court had no lawyers in disposal at the moment and that the court will have to ask the Bar Association to provide one.
“We have decided to delay this case until next time because Mr Ang does not have a lawyer to defend him,” Judge Srim said.
Outside the courtroom, Mr Ang, who was escorted by prison guards, told reporters that he “killed Kem Ley”, but did not comment further.
Supreme Court deputy general prosecutor Ouk Kimsith said he asked the court to delay the case because Mr Ang does not have representation.
“I asked the presiding Judge to delay this case until next time,” Mr Kimsith said.
Mr Ley, a fierce government critic, was gunned down at a gas station in Chamkar Mon district on the morning of July 10, 2016. Mr Ang was arrested minutes after the murder.
During his trial at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Mr Ang confessed he pulled the trigger because Mr Ley owed him $3,000.
This motive has been questioned as relatives of both men confirmed they did not know each other and that Mr Ang was living in poverty.
Following the murder, Mr Ley’s family left the Kingdom and is now in Australia.