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Three sentenced in child-sex cases

091228_02
Gareth Ashley Corbett, a 51-year-old British national found guilty of sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl, arrives at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for sentencing Friday.

A PHNOM Penh Municipal Court judge sentenced a British man to one year in prison and fined him 4 million riels (US$959) on Friday after he was found guilty of sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.

Gareth Ashley Corbett, 51, was arrested at his home in Preah Sihanouk province on July 28 following testimony from the victim.

The victim’s lawyer, Peng Maneth, said Sunday that his client was not satisfied with the sentence, which he said is too light. “There has been no cooperation from [the victim’s] mother, who was not willing to seek any compensation for her daughter, as she received benefits” from Corbett, she said.

Samleang Seila, county director for Actions Pours Les Enfants (APLE), agreed the verdict was too lenient.

“We are prepared to appeal to the Appeal Court’s general prosecutor to reconsider the sentence.”

But Corbett’s lawyer, Theng Meng Y, called the decision unjust. “It was based only on the victim’s word, without any sufficient evidence or witnesses,” he said. Corbett has one month to appeal.

Two Cambodian-Vietnamese men were also sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison related to the purchase of several underage girls in 2007 and 2008.

Ho Nguy, 26, was arrested in Phnom Penh in February following the arrest a week earlier of American Ronald Gerud, who has since been sent to the US. Chhun Voan, 29, is still at large and was sentenced in absentia.

While Samleang Seila welcomed the decision, Ho Nguy’s defence lawyer Dun Vibol said his client had already asked to appeal. “It is very unjust, as he is innocent,” he said.

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