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Defendant absent for indecency hearing

Siem Reap provincial court on Tuesday heard the case of a Canadian man charged with indecent acts against minors, but proceedings were hampered by the absence of the accused, a lawyer said.

Peng Maneth, a lawyer for the victims provided by French NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), said he was representing three boys between the ages of 13 and 15 who were allegedly sexually abused by the suspect in February. “We ... had to reckon with the absence of the Canadian national, who is believed to have fled the country after the court agreed to release him on bail.”

The suspect was arrested on February 20 in Siem Reap and was released on bail after two months in pretrial detention. His current whereabouts are unknown.

“No one, not the judge, prosecution or the defence lawyer, talked about where the defendant might be,” Peng Maneth said. “We don’t know who will be responsible for the victims’ compensation if the court finds him guilty.”

Siem Reap provincial court is due to announce the verdict on November 30.

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