The Appeal Court yesterday reviewed a lower court’s convictions against four people and reduced their sentences that previously ranged from 65 to 138 years, down to 24 to 61 years, as well as overturned the convictions against two others over crimes committed in Phnom Penh in 2015.
Presiding Judge Yun Narong identified them as Pen Chamnab, 19, Seth Mathroseth, 22, Im Sopheak, 23, Eng Aripin, 20, Nhem Kanitha, 22, and Pich Soneth, 22.
Judge Narong said they were arrested on December 13, 2015 and were all charged with thefts with aggravating circumstances by committing violence and resulting in the death of victims, and unauthorised holding or transporting of weapons under Articles 353, 357, 360 and 490 of the Criminal Code.
He said that on July 25, 2017, Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Mr Mathroseth to 138 years in prison for nine different cases committed in 2015, when he and his colleagues stole six motorbikes, shot three people dead, and injured six others.
He added that Mr Chamnab, Mr Sopheak, and Mr Aripin were sentenced to 120 years each in prison for the same cases, while Ms Kanitha and Ms Soneth were sentenced to 108 years each in prison for their involvement.
Judge Narong said they all appealed the ruling to the Appeal Court in July 2017.
“Based on the trial, the answers of the six people during their hearing on August 7, and after the judges’ council at the Appeal Court has read all the documents related to the cases as well as inspected the ruling of Phnom Penh Municipal Court, the judges’ council at the Appeal Court finds that Mr Chamnab and Mr Mathroseth were involved in four of the cases, while Ms Kanitha committed three of the cases and Ms Soneth committed two of the cases,” Judge Narong said.
“Therefore, the Appeal Court has decided to reduce Mr Chamnab’s sentence from 138 years to 61 years in jail, Mr Mathroseth’s sentence from 120 years to 60 years and six months in jail, Ms Kanitha’s sentence from 108 years to 32 years in jail, and Ms Soneth to 24 years in jail,” he said.
“The Appeal Court did not find Mr Sopheak and Mr Aripin guilty because they were not involved in any of the nine cases of robbery with Mr Chamnab, Mr Mathroseth, Ms Kanitha and Ms Soneth,” he added. “Therefore, the Appeal Court has decided to overturn their convictions and order police to immediately release them from prison.”
Mr Chamnab, Mr Mathroseth and Ms Kanitha yesterday declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Ms Soneth said that the ruling was unjust and that she did not accept it.
“It was an injustice,” she said. “I will appeal it to the Supreme Court.”
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