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Australian national pushes to have drug conviction dropped

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times Share:
Rossetto Dino after his arrest. National Police

The Supreme Court yesterday held a hearing for an Australian national who’s appealing to have his drug conviction dropped.

Presiding Judge Khim Pohn identified the convict as 51-year-old Rossetto Dino, who was a bar manager in Preah Sihanouk province.

Judge Pon said Mr Dino was charged with drug use and trafficking after he was arrested by provincial anti-drug police on September 4, 2017.

“He was arrested after he sold drugs to an undercover police officer,” he said. “After the arrest, police seized drugs from him.”

“Police inspected his rented home in Sihanoukville and confiscated 40.85 grams of methamphetamine, one scale, one phone and other materials” Judge Pohn added. “He also tested positive for drugs after a urine test was conducted.”

He noted that on January 23 last year, Mr Dino was sentenced to five years in prison after he was found guilty of the crimes by the provincial court.

Mr Dino then filed an appeal with the Appeal Court, which was rejected on November 20. Judge Pohn said Mr Dino then filed an appeal to have the charges dropped at the Supreme Court in December.

In the courtroom yesterday, Mr Dino denied that he was a drug trafficker, but admitted that he used drugs.

He said that on the day of his arrest, he was contacted by an unidentified woman who owed him money.

He said he travelled to meet the unidentified woman at a public park.

“I travelled from the rented house to meet the unidentified woman,” Mr Dino said. “I was then arrested by police.”

“After my arrest, police found and picked up a small package of drugs nearby the place to show me and alleged that it belonged to me,” he added. “[Then] they brought me to inspect the rented house.”

Mr Dino said after his rented house was searched, police showed him another package of drugs and alleged that it also belonged to him.

He noted that the drugs found at the rented home and the public park did not belong to him.

Mr Dino said the drugs at the park were planted by police and that the drugs seized from his home belonged to a Cambodian man named James.

“I recognise that I was a drug user, not a drug trafficker,” Mr Dino said. “I would like to ask the Supreme Court to drop my charges and release me.”

A verdict is due on July 8.

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