The Court of Appeal yesterday delayed the trial of four brothers convicted of murdering a 53-year-old sorcerer in a case that took place in Kampong Speu province’s Samraong Tong district in 2015.
Presiding Judge Sin Visal identified the men as Phath Phearun, 40, along with his younger brothers Phath Rotha, 29; Phath Rothana, 27; and Phath Ratanak, 24.
Judge Visal noted that they were convicted of premeditated murder in 2016 by Kampong Speu Provincial Court and were all sentenced to life in prison.
Judge Visal said they were arrested in Samraong district in July 2015 over the murder of Path Sophea, who was a 53-year-old farmer who practiced sorcery. The victim was murdered on July 11 that year.
Judge Visal added that they submitted for an appeal on August 27, 2016. A trial at the Court of Appeal was scheduled for yesterday but has now been delayed.
“Until now, the Appeal Court has not received any of the relevant documents from the lower court [Kampong Speu Provincial Court] for today’s trial,” Judge Visal said. “Therefore the Appeal Court has decided to delay the trial, with consideration that this was a serious murder case.”
The men had appeared at the court with the expectation that it would take place as planned. They were sent back to prison in Kampong Speu province to continue their sentence until a new trial date has been set.
Before leaving, Mr Phearun spoke outside of the court, saying that he and his brothers were at a garment factory where they worked at on the day of the murder.
He added that there were witnesses that could attest to it, as well as his thumbprint scan and CCTV footage at the factory.
Mr Phearun noted that he and his family did not have any conflict with the victim. He added that on the day he and his brothers were arrested, Samraong Tong district police summoned them for questioning and immediately decided to arrest them over the murder allegations.
“I have many witnesses that can say that my brothers and I were not involved in the murder,” Mr Phearun said. “But police and Kampong Speu Provincial Court did not properly investigate the case or summoned the witnesses for questioning.”
Long Lun, the lawyer representing the four brothers, said his clients were wrongly convicted.
“I pity my clients. They are innocent but were convicted to life in prison,” Mr Lun said. “Now I have more evidence and witnesses to show that they are innocent. I will present them to the Appeal Court on the next trial.”
“I hope that the Appeal Court will find the truth and provide my client with the justice they deserve,” Mr Lun added.