The Appeal Court on Wednesday upheld a guilty verdict against a man who was sentenced last year to 13 years behind bars for killing two people at a drinking gathering in Preah Vihear province.
“The Appeal Court decides to uphold the verdict of the provincial court and sentence the suspect to 13 years in prison,” presiding judge In Van Vibol said.
Nop Siv was arrested on April 10 after he fatally shot two men in Cheb district’s Sangke II commune following a heated argument at a drinking party.
Siv and his gang of six fell into an argument with another group of six who then dared them to a fight with bare hands. But Siv went home and returned with a gun loaded with five bullets.
When he shot randomly to scare his opponents, some went into hiding in a rice field about 30 metres away, but the bullets hit two teenagers aged 17 and 18. The pair succumbed to their injuries after being admitted to hospital.
Sentenced by the provincial court in April to 13 years in prison on murder charges under Article 199 of the Criminal Code, Siv was also ordered to pay compensation of eight million riel ($2,000) to each victim’s family.
Prosecutor Im Sophan said the case still had many doubts.
He said forensic examination did not show clearly who actually fired the gunshots because two of Siv’s friends who were involved in the altercation also possessed similar weapons.
“It was not clear if the victims died because of his bullets. It’s also possible that the victims died because they were sent to the hospital too late or because the doctor could not save him,” he said.
Last month, Siv pleaded with the Appeal Court to reduce his jail term.
“I confessed my wrongdoing. I killed those two men, but it was an accident because it was too dark during the night. The 13-year prison term is too much. I request the court to reduce my sentence,” he said.
Defence lawyer Lim Linan said that because his client had confessed to the murder, the appeal court should reduce his sentence.
“My client said the night was too dark. He shot ramdomly. He did not know where people were hiding. Accordinng to articles 93 and 94 of the Criminal Code, the court should reduce his sentences,” Linan said.