Appeal Court upholds rape conviction

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Chan Savoeun arrives at the Appeal Court. KT/Pann Rachana

The Appeal Court yesterday upheld the sentencing of a man jailed for five years for raping an elderly woman in Preah Vihear province.

Presiding Judge Chan Marina identified him as Chan Savoeun, a 48-year-old farmer from Kulen district.

The victim was identified as Sok Lim, 68, a farmer living in the same district as Mr Savoeun.

Judge Marina said Mr Savoeun was charged by Preah Vihear Provincial Court with rape and unauthorised holding of a weapon after he was arrested by Kulen district police on September 10, 2017.

“Based on the trial and after the judges’ council has seriously checked and inspected all related documents in the case, and based on the victim’s answers as well as the accused’s answers during the trial, the Appeal Court understands that the judgment of Preah Vihear Provincial Court dated May 20, 2018, was right and was made in accordance with the laws,” Judge Marina said.

“Therefore, the Appeal Court has decided to uphold the judgment of Preah Vihear Provincial Court as effective,” she said.

Judge Marina noted that Mr Savoeun was married and has five children with his wife, who is also a farmer.

She said that about 7am on September 8, 2017, the victim, whose house is located near Mr Savoeun’s, asked him to drive her to attend a Buddhist ceremony in the mountains about five kilometres from the commune.

Judge Marina said Mr Savoeun agreed to take Ms Lim on his Honda motorcycle to the location of the ceremony.

She added that when they saw a pond on the way, the victim asked Mr Savoeun to stop so that she could bathe in it.

“When the victim was bathing in the pond, Mr Savoeun, who was waiting for her near the motorcycle and was also watching her bathe, eventually went into the pond with her,” Judge Marina said. “Mr Savoeun then held her and raped her in the pond.”

Judge Marina noted that after raping her, Mr Savoeun took her to the ceremony they were heading to before returning home at about 2pm.

She said on the next day, Ms Lim told her 69-year-old husband that she had sex with Mr Savoeun. Her husband became angry with her and she later filed a complaint against Mr Savoeun to district police.

Judge Marina noted that Mr Savoeun was arrested on September 10, 2017 in his house, where police also seized an AK-47 rifle and 50 bullets.

She added that the provincial court on May 20 last year convicted Mr Savoeun and sentenced him to five years in jail.

However, Mr Savoeun did not agree with the ruling and appealed to the Appeal Court to overturn his charge and release him from prison.

Mr Savoeun could not be contacted for comment yesterday.

However, during his trial last month, Mr Savoeun told the court that he did not rape the victim, noting that they had consensual sex.

“I did not rape the victim. She agreed to have sex with me,” he said. “She even initiated it.”

Heng Socheata, Mr Savoeun’s defense lawyer, said that her client was not guilty of raping Ms Lim.

“They had consensual sex. No one forced anyone,” she said. “My client is not guilty.”

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