A Kampong Speu province girl accused of drowning a 4-year-old girl in order to steal her gold earrings and buy a mobile phone will continue to be questioned in court today.
The suspect, who allegedly confessed to luring distant cousin Seit Khem Chang into a lake and drowning her on Saturday, was thought to be 14 – Cambodia’s minimum age of criminal responsibility. But, after about five hours of questioning yesterday, officials are still trying to verify her age, said provincial deputy prosecutor Mut Dar.
Documents obtained by authorities appeared to show that the defendant is 12, which could save her from jail time, Dar said of the girl, who remains in police custody.
“According to the law, she cannot be detained, but the court will announce her sentence,” Dar said.
However, due to the apparent premeditation and seriousness of the crime, the court could opt for prison time, said James McCabe, operations manager at the Phnom Penh-based Child Protection Unit.
“It’s a matter for the court to decide, given the seriousness of the crime,” he said.