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Appeal Court overturns rape conviction

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Leang Vichetr will remain behind bars on a death threat conviction. KT/Pann Rachana

The Appeal Court yesterday overturned a rape conviction against a man jailed for five years over posting nude photos and a sex video of his former girlfriend on his Facebook account.

Presiding Judge Pol Sam Oeun identified him as Leang Vichetr, 20, a construction worker from Por Senchey district’s Choam Chao commune in Phnom Penh.

Judge Sam Oeun said Mr Vichetr was charged with rape and death threats after he was arrested on April 9 last year in Por Senchey district.

He added that the victim was a garment worker aged 17 and living in Por Senchey district’s Kakab commune.

In December, Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced him to five years in jail.

“After the judges’ council read and inspected all the related documents in this case, as well as considered Mr Vichetr’s answers during the trial, the council understands that he and the victim were a couple, and both had sex with each other many times [during the relationship],” Judge Sam Oeun said. “The council understands that he did not rape the victim as he was convicted of and sentenced to five years in jail for by Phnom Penh Municipal Court.”

“Therefore, the Appeal Court has decided to overturn the rape charge against him and reduce his sentence from five years to three years in jail for death threats,” he added.

According to court documents obtained yesterday, Mr Vichetr met the victim on Facebook in 2017. The two eventually got into a relationship.

The document noted that Mr Vichetr would take pictures and videos of the victim when they were intimate.

In February last year, the couple broke off their relationship after having an argument.

Mr Vichetr continued to pursue the victim and asked to get back together, but the victim ignored him.

Mr Vichetr grew angry and on April 7 last year, he posted nude photos of the victim and a video of them having sex to his Facebook account. He sent the images and video to her on Facebook messenger where he also threatened to kill her if they did not get back together.

The victim subsequently filed a complaint against Mr Vichetr to Por Senchey district police for intervention.

He was arrested on April 9 at his rental house in Choam Chao commune and police seized a Samsung phone from him, which contained numerous nude images of the victim.

The municipal court prosecutor charged him with rape and death threats, and on December 15, the court sentenced him to five years in jail.

Mr Vichetr subsequently appealed the ruling to the Appeal Court.

At the end of the trial yesterday, Mr Vichetr said he accepted the judgement.

“I accept the Appeal Court’s ruling,” he said. “However, since it was the first time I committed a crime, and I need to work to support my poor parents, I will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court to further reduce my sentence.”

“I am committed to become a new person when I’m freed and I will not repeat the offence again,” he added.

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