Three people on trial for manslaughter were acquitted yesterday by Phnom Penh Municipal Court after spending almost one year in prison.
Judge Seng Leang identified the three as 28-year-old Suos Vanna, 34-year-old Phan Dany and 34-year-old Ren Thol, who were garment factory workers living in Por Senchey district’s Trapaing Krasaing commune.
Judge Leang said the three were charged with manslaughter over the death of 16-year-old Uong Song in the commune.
He said the three had set up an electric contraption in a pond in order to catch fish, and the victim was shocked to death when he entered the pond.
“Based on the trial and the court’s consideration, it is acknowledged that the three did not have the intention to kill the victim, as they have been accused,” Judge Leang said. “Therefore, the court has decided to drop the charges against them and order prison officials to release them, if there is no pending case.”
The three welcomed the ruling after 11 months in pre-trial detention.
“I am very happy that the court was able to find truth and justice,” Mr Phan Dany said. “I accept the ruling. I will not complain about my detention even though I was detained for nearly one year.”
According to a police report, the three men and the victim were friends. It said on September 23, they rigged the fishtrap by wiring it to an electrical source located at one of their homes in Chung Ruk village, near the pond.
The victim was shocked when he entered the pond to retrieve fish the group had stunned with the contraption, the report added.
Upon seeing their friend, the three pulled him out of the pond and attempted to conduct CPR, but ultimately failed.
The victim died at the spot due to serious injuries, the report said.
It noted that the three then threw their friend’s body into the pond and fled the scene.
The following morning, the victim’s body was discovered by a villager, who reported the finding to police.
The three were then arrested later in the afternoon after a neighbour confessed that the victim left with his friends the previous night.
Colonel Sok Kosal, a correctional officer at Prey Sar prison, yesterday said the three were released yesterday, noting that they are back with their families.