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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Scott's defence team in negotiations for Oct 3 trial

Scott's defence team in negotiations for Oct 3 trial

G AVIN SCOTT'S 92-day detention in T3 prison on rape charges is heading for a

resolution with negotiations now underway for a Oct 3 trial.

Scott's

defence has been boosted by the arrival of former Cambodian Defenders Project

(CDP) co-founder Joyce Bang, who will act as a legal advisor to defender Oum

Samuel.

Bang - who has ten years experience in the United States as a

lawyer, seven years of which were in criminal law, the last four as Assistant US

Attorney in Washington - stressed she would not be representing Scott in

court.

Bang - who arrived back in Cambodia on Sept 11 - is helping Samuel

prepare a defence she considers very strong.

"[Scott] on this

[prosecution] evidence is definitely, absolutely not guilty of rape... he should

not be in jail right now...".

Though Bang preferred not to elaborate, it

is possible that the Cambodian legal system will be asked to rule on a series of

procedural questions relating to Scott's legal rights, based on the UNTAC law he

is being charged under.

A probable trial date of Oct 3 is "being

negotiated, in accordance with the law and subject to us finishing our

investigations," she said.

Scott, a well-known British doctor, was

arrested on rape charges on June 23.

However, he has been unable to

obtain a defence deemed adequate by many, including some human rights

watchdogs.

The USAID-funded CDP - where Bang co-trained 25 defenders for

12 months, as well as set up the Cambodian Court Training Project training

judges and prosecutors for six months in Washington DC and Cambodia - was

conflicted from representing Scott.

CDP's then interim director Michael

Karnavas gave advice on the case to Licadho's Naly Pilorge at Pilorge's request.

Licadho is a member of ECPAT, the NGO umbrella group who pressed charges against

Scott.

"I couldn't believe CDP couldn't represent [Scott]... I spent a

year here training 25 excellent defenders, each one of whom would have done a

fabulous job on this case," Bang said.

She said the situation "was really

unfair... here in a community where everyone talks about human

rights".

Bang said she was confident that the training she had done

within the Cambodian justice system would pay off. "If they apply the legal

procedures then justice will be done, it's what everyone is looking for... this

is like a test case for the work I helped do here," she said.

Bang said

she was home in the United States when she saw a Phnom Penh Post article on the

Scott case and "couldn't believe it... I couldn't sleep that night".

"I

was just so torn up... I couldn't do much [from the United States]. That factor

and others made me come back," she said.

Bang said she was pleased with

the investigating judge in Scott's case, Nup Sophan. "He is ethical, fair and

competent. He thinks about the law and applying it according to legal principles

of fairness and justice."

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