Despite its ongoing investigation into opposition Sam Rainsy Party lawyer Choung Choungy’s ethical behaviour, the Bar Association has assigned seven of its lawyers to defend him against a criminal charge, association officials said yesterday.
Bar Association spokesman Yim Sary told the Post yesterday that Choung Choungy was involved in two separate and unrelated cases.
“He has been charged by the Kandal Provincial Court in connection with a crime, and the Bar Associations is investigating whether he has acted contrary to the ethics of a professional lawyer in holding a press conference to criticise the justice system,” Yim Sary said.
On Tuesday, the Bar Association announced it would summon Choung Choungy to appear before the Bar Council to answer accusations that he had contravened his professional code of ethics.
“This is still an investigation by the Bar Association, so until there is a decision, we will appoint lawyers to defend him like a normal client,” Yim Sary said.
The association appointed Choung Choungy seven defence lawyers because the Bar recognised the accused lawyer was “in a framework of fear”, Yim Sary said.
Late last month, Choung Choungy disappeared for nearly a day and many observers believe he was faced with judicial threats and intimidation during the period he was missing.
Yim Sary said that the Bar Association requested for four lawyers to represent Choung Choungy in court when he is summoned to appear on January 17.
“We would like as many of the lawyers as possible to appear with him, but it depends on their schedules and when they can appear,” he said.
Yim Sary clarified that the Bar Association’s investigation of Choung Choungy’s actions related only to his actions in holding a press conference to express his political opinions without first informing the association.
“This is why the Bar Council has summoned him to clarify his activities,” Yim Sary said.
“I think this is not a serious problem, it is only a secondary problem, nothing big.”
Lor Chanthy, one of the seven lawyers appointed to represent Choung Choungy, told the Post yesterday that the lawyers are following and controlling this case so they could best represent the SRP lawyer as a client in court.
“As the lawyers, we must defend him. Win or lose, we do not say,” he said.
Choung Choungy could not be reached for comment.