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Court sets Seng Chenda verdict date

Phnom Penh Municipal Court judge Sin Visal announced yesterday that he would hand down a verdict on January 26 in a contentious case brought against the wife of a prominent businessman and four others accused of attempted murder.

“Due to the complexities of the case, the court will continue its conclusions about these five defendants and will officially announce their verdicts on the morning of January 26,” Sin Visal said.

Seng Chenda, 48, wife of tycoon Khaou Chuly, and four accomplices have been charged with attempting to murder Suv Chantha, Khaou Chuly’s daughter from a previous wife. Suv Chantha is married to Sun Chanthol, vice chairman of the Council for the Development of Cambodia and a former minister of public works.

All five accused have pleaded not guilty.

Seng Chenda reiterated her  innocence in court yesterday.

“I have not committed the acts for which I’m charged. I think this is a trick by His Excellency Sun Chanthol’s family,” she said.

“I would like to deny these charges against me, and I would like the court to find justice for me.”

Pal Chandara, the lawyer representing Suv Chantha, told the court yesterday that police interrogations and confessions taken from suspected accomplices Chan Sokha, Neang Sinath, Khorn Lak and Yin Sophearith proved that they were ordered by Seng Chenda to carry out the murder of his client.

“Seng Chenda is the mastermind of this attempted murder, and these four people were involved,” he said.

The four alleged accomplices have testified previously that police and Sun Chanthol forced them to provide false confessions.

Lim Vanna, the lawyer representing Seng Chenda, dismissed the charges as an attempt by Sun Chanthol to victimize her over conflicts with her husband’s children from a previous marriage.

Seng Chenda and her four alleged accomplices were charged under Article 3 of the Law on Aggravating Circumstances for Felonies, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

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