The Appeal Court yesterday heard the case of a man convicted by Phnom Penh Municipal Court in 2017 and sentenced to five years in jail for raping a woman in Kampong Chhnang province in 2016.
Presiding Judge Chan Marina identified him as Say So, a 43-year-old land broker from Kampong Chhnang province’s Kampong Chhnang city.
Judge Marina identified the victim as Bun Sreymom, 21, who was a high school student at the time, and living in the same city as the accused.
Judge Marina said that Mr So was charged with rape after he was arrested on November 18, 2016 in Phnom Penh.
She added that Mr So had two wives and three children. One of his wives is a garment worker and living in Phnom Penh while another lives in Kampong Chhnang province.
Judge Marina noted that at about 7pm on June 9, 2016, Mr So invited Ms Sreymom to the inauguration ceremony of Meas Samnang’s Karaoke Entertainment Shop in Kampong Chhnang city.
Judge Marina said that at the ceremony, Mr So forced Ms Sreymom to drink until she was intoxicated.
She said that at about 10pm, Mr So took Ms Sreymom, who was drunk, to a guesthouse in the city, where he raped her before taking her home at about 11pm.
“When he brought the victim to the guesthouse, the victim refused to enter the room, but he took hold of her and pushed her into the room,” Judge Marina said. “After pushing her inside, he pushed her onto the bed. He held her down and raped her.”
Judge Marina said that when the victim arrived home, she told her mother about what happened. On the next day, the mother filed a complaint against Mr So to the provincial penal police, leading to his arrest on November 18, 2016.
Judge Marina said Phnom Penh Municipal Court on December 28, 2017, convicted Mr So and sentenced him to five years in jail. The municipal court also ordered him to pay $10,000 in damages to the victim.
However, Mr So did not agree with the ruling and appealed it to the Appeal Court.
During yesterday’s hearing, Mr So told the court that he did not rape the victim, saying that he did not take the victim to the ceremony that night. He noted that he was at home with his wife on the night of the incident.
“It was very unjust,” Mr So said, referring to the judgement handed down to him.
“I did not know anything and I did not rape the victim. But the municipal court convicted me and sentenced me to five years in jail,” he said. “I am innocent.”
“I would like to ask the Appeal Court to overturn the judgement of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and release me from prison,” he added.
Mr Samnang, a friend of Mr So, testified as a witness and said that his Karaoke Entertainment Shop’s inauguration ceremony was on February 25, 2016, not on June 9.
Mr Samnang said on that night, he saw Mr So with a girl but did not know who she was.
Khuth Sopheang, Appeal Court deputy prosecutor, said that despite Mr So’s denial, the victim and her mother identified him as the perpetrator.
Mr Sopheang added that the day after Mr So raped the victim, he sent one of his wives to negotiate a deal with the victim and her mother, promising to pay $6,000 for them to drop the case. However, Mr So never came through with the payment.
“For this case, in the name of the court prosecutor, I decide to uphold the charge as effective and suggest the judges’ council to uphold the accused’s conviction,” he said.
A verdict is due on August 13.