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Top Court hears appeal of man who killed friend

Buth Reaksmey Kongkea / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Prisoners are ferried away from the Supreme Court. KT/Pann Rachana

The Supreme Court yesterday heard the appeal of a man who was jailed for murdering a friend in order to steal his motorbike in Tboung Khmum province in 2015.

Presiding Judge Khim Ponn identified him as Heng Sokmean, 22, who lived in Memot district’s Memot commune.

He identified the victim as Ly Davuth, 19, a Grade 9 student who also lived in the commune.

Judge Ponn noted that the murder took place at about 12.30pm on August 28, 2015 in the commune.

He said that at about 8am, Mr Sokmean invited the victim to smoke drugs with him at his cottage at a rubber plantation in the commune so that he could steal his motorbike.

Judge Ponn said that about noon, when Mr Davuth was high on drugs, Mr Sokmean hacked him several times with a cleaver.

“He took a cleaver and hacked the victim on the face and head until he fell unconscious,” he said. “Mr Sokmean then tied his hands and legs and slashed Mr Davuth’s throat with a vegetable knife, causing him to die on the spot.”

Judge Ponn noted that during the attack the victim shouted for help and a neighbour alerted commune police.

He said that after killing the victim, Mr Sokmean did not flee because he was high on drugs and police arrested him at about 1pm in his cottage.

Judge Ponn noted that after the arrest, police seized a cleaver, a vegetable knife, ropes, and drug paraphernalia from him.

He said that on April 4, 2016 Tboung Khmum Provincial Court convicted Mr Sokmean of premeditated murder and sentenced him to life in jail.

Judge Ponn said Mr Sokmean filed an appeal and on March 5 last year the Appeal Court upheld the conviction, but reduced the sentence to 30 years.

He noted that the prosecution did not agree with the sentence reduction and appealed to the Supreme Court.

At yesterday’s hearing, Mr Sokmean admitted committing the offence, saying that he killed the victim during an argument.

He said he was high on drugs and could not control his actions.

“I did not plan to kill the victim although the court has accused me of premeditated murder,” he told the court. “On that day, I was high on drugs and got into an argument with the victim. I then killed him without being aware that I was doing so.”

“I only realised that I had killed him after police arrested me and when I came out of my drug-induced state,” Mr Sokmean added. “I regret my mistake.”

He urged the court to overturn the charge of premeditated murder and reduce his jail term to 15 years.

However, Veng Vuthy, deputy prosecutor-general, urged the court to uphold the charge and reinstate Mr Sokmean’s original life sentence.

A verdict is due September 16.

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