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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Under-age sex case re-opened

Under-age sex case re-opened

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court has ordered further investigation of a convoluted case against an Australian national charged with having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Defendant Paul Codognato, 68, was discovered in March by police at a rented home in Daun Penh’s Wat Phnom commune with the victim, and has been in pre-trial detention since, said presiding judge Duch Kimsan.

The parents of the victim withdrew their complaint in the civil compensation portion of the case, with the father claiming the incident was the fault of his daughter.

“I still uphold the allegation in spite of the father’s withdrawal of the complaint, because it is actually a crime,” prosecutor Chet Khamera told the court.

Based on Codognato’s testimony, he met the victim near the riverside, and brought her home to give her some water.

“She told me that she was 18 years old, but I was still sceptical,” Codognato said.

According to defence lawyer Dun Vibol, the victim said she had sexual intercourse with his client twice consecutively without using a condom, but a thorough examination found no evidence of such activity.

Anti-human trafficking official Kiev Sophal said that the victim initially denied having sex with the defendant.

“The court will summons the doctor... to give clarity to the case,” said Judge Kimsan

To contact the reporter on this story: Lieng Sarith at sarith.lieng@phnompenhpost.com

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