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Novak trial postponed by court

PREAH Sihanouk provincial court yesterday postponed the announcement of a verdict in the case against a German national charged with committing indecent acts against two underage boys last year, because both the suspect and his lawyer were absent.

Walter Orson Novak, 46, was arrested in March last year from a guesthouse in Sihanoukville, where he was renting a room.

He is accused of taking the boys down to a beach on multiple occasions to molest them, and paying them up to US$5 each time, according to a statement released by child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants.

He was freed on bail after serving a month of pretrial detention.

Presiding Judge In Manith said yesterday that a request from defence lawyer Khun Sophal, who called the court earlier and said that he could not attend because he was busy mourning the dead at Diamond Island, was granted without scheduling a new date.

Nuon Phanith, a lawyer provided to the victims by the child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, said he was “disappointed and bored” by the court’s decision to postpone the verdict.

“It is unreasonable, even thought the defence lawyer was absent,” he said.

“It must go ahead because it was just the verdict.”

Defence lawyer Khun Sophal could not be reached for comment yesterday.

If the court finds him guilty, Novak faces one to three years in prison.

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