The Appeal Court yesterday heard the appeal of former municipal penal police officer Hang Vuthy over his conviction for attempting to murder National Military Police Commander General Sao Sokha in 2003.
Mr Vuthy was in a wheelchair and in a weak voice asked the court to allow him to remain seated because he was seriously ill with liver and lung cancer.
Mr Vuthy was charged in October 2003 with attempted murder together with disgraced former Phnom Penh police chief Heng Pov and his subordinates Oum Samkheng, Ly Rasy and Prum Sophearith.
Phnom Penh Municipal Court in 2009 sentenced him to 15 years in jail over the attempted murder. It then granted him a retrial in April 2015 and upheld the conviction.
At yesterday’s hearing, Mr Vuthy told the court that he had been unjustly sentenced based on a 2003 anonymous letter which implicated him in the murder attempt.
He said that the case stemmed from a dispute between Mr Pov and Gen Sokha.
Prosecutor Im Sophan told the court that despite his claims of innocence, Mr Vuthy had been convicted of the crime and had also been convicted of killing a judge and other murder attempts.
Mr Vuthy’s lawyer Sam Sokrith said that his client did not commit the crime and the only evidence against him was the anonymous letter.
“Please judges release my client,” Mr Sokrith said. “The doctor said that my client is seriously ill, so please allow him to undergo treatment at home.”
In June 2006, Mr Vuthy, who was serving a 45-year sentence for gunning down a Phnom Penh court judge in broad daylight, broke out of Prey Sar prison with 11 other inmates and went into hiding until 2012, when he turned himself in and claimed that he had escaped under duress.
In 2008, Phnom Penh Municipal Court also convicted Mr Vuthy together with Mr Pov and Mr Samkheng for attempting to murder a Electricite du Cambodge employee Kim Daravuth over an electricity bill dispute.
They were each sentenced to 18 years in jail and ordered to pay $800,000 in compensation to Mr Daravuth, who was left paralysed from the neck down after the attack.
At yesterday’s trial, Presiding Judge Yun Narong said that he will announce a verdict on August 13.