Tuesday, 10 May 2011 15:02Buth Reaksmey Kongkea
A 56-year-old British man was sentenced to 10 years in prison and fined 20 million riels (about US$5,000) in absentia yesterday, on charges of raping a 17-year-old girl in Phnom Penh in 2009.
Presiding judge at Phnom Penh Municipal Court, Ker Sakhorn, said that David John Fletcher was guilty of a rape committed in Phnom Penh in 2009.
Fletcher escaped to Thailand in 2010 in order to avoid prosecution, but was arrested by Thai authorities on immigration charges on January 23 and is currently being held in a Thai prison.
“The court also orders concerned authorities to take measures and action to bring this convicted person from Thailand to jail in Cambodia, where he committed the crime,” Ker Sakhorn added.
Peng Maneth, the victim’s lawyer, said she accepted the verdict but asked the court to do everything in its power to bring the rapist to serve his jail term in Cambodia.
“I think that his sentence and the compensation payment are appropriate for the crime he had committed it and for the victim,” she said.
“I would like to ask the court to rule and bring him to jail in Cambodia as soon as possible.”
She added that a major problem with convicting foreigners of sex crimes in Cambodian courts is that they are extradited to other countries to serve jail terms before they pay compensation to their victims, or they escape prosecution altogether.
David John Fletcher’s lawyer Ouk Syroeun, could not be reached for comment yesterday, yet Ker Sakhorn said Fletcher has the right to appeal within 30 days.
In a separate case yesterday, charges were dropped against 60-year-old American Michael James Dodd, who was accused of having sex with two underage girls in Phnom Penh.
The charges against him in Cambodia were removed due to lack of evidence, Ker Sakhorn said. Dodd, a convicted paedophile, was extradited in February 2010 to the United States .