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Brit collapses before sex trial

Brit collapses before sex trial

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Suspected paedophile Michael Leach faints outside Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.

The trial of a British national accused of purchasing the services of child prostitutes was postponed yesterday, after he collapsed outside a Phnom Penh court house.

Michael Leach, 50, from London, was arrested last September at a guesthouse in Kandal province’s Kien Svay district on suspicion of sexually abusing three underage girls aged between 10 and 15. He has been charged along with five Cambodians, accused of being accomplices.

Arriving at Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday, Leach vomited and appeared to experience a seizure before being taken away in a van.

Peng Maneth, co-lawyer for the three alleged victims, believes Leach’s sickness was a trick in order to delay or avoid attending his trial.  At three previous court appearances, he said, Leach had also fallen ill.

Seng Sopheary, a prison police officer, said Leach had heart disease but was fine before the trip to court. He is being treated in the May Health Centre in Meanchey district.

Deputy court president and presiding judge Ker Sakhorn yesterday asked for prison officials and lawyers to ensure a medical check is carried out and to provide a report of treatment to the court for the next hearing, set for May 6.

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