Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles denied early release in surrogacy case

Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles denied early release in surrogacy case

Australian national Tammy Davis-Charles (C) is escorted by prison guards into the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh on January 8, 2018. Davis-Charles, jailed for 18 months for running a surrogacy clinic in Cambodia, had her sentence upheld on January 8 in a prominent case highlighting the country's role in the lucrative trade. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP
Australian national Tammy Davis-Charles (C) is escorted by prison guards into the Court of Appeal in Phnom Penh on January 8, 2018. Davis-Charles, jailed for 18 months for running a surrogacy clinic in Cambodia, had her sentence upheld on January 8 in a prominent case highlighting the country's role in the lucrative trade. Tang Chhin Sothy/AFP

Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles denied early release in surrogacy case

Australian nurse Tammy Davis-Charles, who has spent more than a year behind bars in Cambodian prison for her role in a landmark surrogacy case, was on Monday denied early release by Phnom Penh’s Appeal Court.

Appeal Court judges yesterday were not swayed by Davis-Charles’s plea to reduce her 18-month sentence in order to seek treatment for eye cancer.

Referring to a document from Davis-Charles’s doctor detailing her diagnosis, Appeal Court Judge Kim Danny said she already had a tumour removed from her eye, but her doctor noted the condition had recurred and required treatment.

Judge Danny made no mention of whether Davis-Charles would be able to receive treatment while serving time in Prey Sar prison. She also suggested that Davis-Charles had received a relatively “lenient” sentence, as the charges against her carried a maximum prison term of two years.

“We uphold the verdict of the court of first instance,” Judge Danny said. “We decide to continue to detain her.”

Visibly thinner than during her trial and wearing a blue jumpsuit, a tearful Davis-Charles declined to speak to The Post yesterday after leaving the courtroom.

Davis-Charles and her two Cambodian co-accused, nurse Samrith Chakriya and Commerce Ministry official Penh Rithy, were arrested in November 2016 following a snap ban on Cambodia’s flourishing commercial surrogacy industry.

In the vacuum of formal surrogacy laws, the trio was sentenced in August to 18 months in prison for obtaining falsified documents, such as birth certificates, and for acting as intermediaries between adoptive parents and pregnant women.

Davis-Charles has denied those charges in court, saying she merely acted as a nurse to treat surrogates in her care. She worked with 23 surrogate mothers who each received $10,000 after giving birth to children for Australian and American intended parents, who typically paid $50,000 for the whole process.

Davis-Charles has one month to file an appeal of the court’s decision to the Supreme Court. Chakriya and Rithy have not appealed their sentences.

The booming “rent-a-womb” industry was outlawed in the Kingdom following similar bans in Thailand and India, and has since put down roots in neighbouring countries, such as Laos.

A timeline of surrogacy laws in the Kingdom:

MOST VIEWED

  • Prince injured, wife dies after accident

    THE wife of former First Prime Minister Prince Norodom Ranariddh, Ouk Phalla, 39, died while the prince was “severely” injured following a road accident in Preah Sihanouk province’s Prey Nub district on Sunday morning, officials said. Rananriddh, who is also the president of the Funcinpec

  • Guards protest dismissals, reject claims of sharing naked photos of child

    Some 20 former security guards at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh protested on Tuesday against their dismissal. They accused their employers of falsely claiming they had viewed and shared child pornography from their mobile phones as grounds for their termination. In total, 32 personnel were dismissed

  • We’re going to Wisney World!

    More than 6,000 mostly Chinese attendees witnessed the inauguration ceremony of a $1 billion Sihanoukville resort project called Wisney World in the capital on Wednesday. The event on Koh Pich, attended by several senior Cambodian government officials, is a joint venture between China’s AMC International and

  • Funcinpec urges probe into deadly Preah Sihanouk accident

    THE Funcinpec party has urged the government, especially the Ministry of Interior, to investigate the traffic accident in Preah Sihanouk province which left Prince Norodom Ranariddh badly injured and his wife Ouk Phalla dead. Funcinpec Vice President You Hokry told reporters at Botum Votey pagoda,