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Lawyer could be disbarred in APLE case

A DEFENCE lawyer who frequently represents foreign paedophile suspects could lose his licence if a bar complaint accusing him of bribery and forging false documents is upheld, the president of the Bar Association of Cambodia said Tuesday.

The complaint, filed by Samleang Seila, director of the prominent child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants (APLE), accuses Dun Vibol of submitting false documents and paying bribes to an official in Takeo province while defending one of his clients, Frenchman Jacques Bernard Renet Collinet.

Bar Association President Chiv Songhak said Tuesday that the investigation into the complaint would soon be complete.

“We are still proceeding with investigations in this case, and we will soon forward this report from our inspection teams to our counsellors for a final decision,” he said, adding that Dun Vibol could face a warning, a fine or the loss of his licence if the ruling goes against him.

Collinet received a three-year prison sentence, two years of which were suspended, last September after Phnom Penh Municipal Court found him guilty of purchasing child prostitution. Dun Vibol had argued that the female victim in the case was 19 at the time the crime was committed.

Samleang Seila’s complaint accuses Dun Vibol of forging documents to make this case, as well as paying an illicit fee of US$50 to Hang Socheat, the deputy police chief in Takeo’s Kampong Krosang commune, to get the documents certified.

Dun Vibol has denied forging documents and claimed that the $50 was mere “tea money” paid to expedite the processing of a form, but Samleang Seila said Tuesday that he believed the payment was a bribe. “In order to get the bribe, the official was instructed by Dun Vibol on what to write. That was the intent: to copy the document and falsify the age,” he said.

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