The Supreme Court yesterday decided to indefinitely postpone the appeal hearing of Yem Chrin, an unlicensed doctor serving 25 years in prison for spreading HIV to nearly 300 villagers in Battambang province’s Roka commune in 2014.
Three victims who travelled from Battambang province to Phnom Penh expressed their disappointment at the court’s decision to allow Mr Chrin more time to find legal representation.
Presiding Judge Soeng Panhavuth said yesterday that the hearing was delayed following a legal request by the defendant.
“Yem Chrin has asked for permission to find himself a lawyer,” Mr Panhavuth said. “This hearing is delayed because the defendant didn’t want to represent himself.”
Nouv Monychot, a court prosecutor, yesterday confirmed that the appeal hearing will be postponed indefinitely.
“This is the first time that he has asked for a delay,” Mr Monychot said. “It is necessary for him to find a lawyer.”
Nearly 300 residents of two villages in Roka commune tested positive for the virus that causes AIDS from November 2014 until 2016.
An investigation into the outbreak found that Mr Chrin, who had been practising medicine in Roka commune since the early 1990s, was to blame after reusing syringes, needles and other medical equipment that allowed the virus to spread among his patients.
In December 2015, Mr Chrin was sentenced to 25 years in jail after being convicted of torture and cruel behaviour resulting in death, intentionally spreading HIV and practising medicine without a licence.
Full story tomorrow.