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British organiser of Siem Reap pool party to face trial after other foreigners released

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A group of foreigners accused of ‘producing pornography’ last month stand outside a courtroom in Siem Reap province on January 27. Chan Raksmey/AFP

British organiser of Siem Reap pool party to face trial after other foreigners released

The case against a British national swept up in a raid on so-called pornographic dancing at a party in Siem Reap last month is set to proceed to trial, a court spokesman said yesterday, even after nine others arrested alongside him saw their charges dropped last week.

The 10 foreigners were among nearly 80 detained when anti-human trafficking police raided a pool party organised by the group “Let’s Get Wet”. While the bulk of the partygoers were soon released without charge, 10 were held and charged with “producing pornography”, though little evidence has been produced so far to support the accusations, and a local official has admitted the group “did not produce pornographic pictures”.

Nine of those who had been charged were released on bail over the past two weeks and deported to their home countries.

Yin Srang, spokesman for the Siem Reap Provincial Court, confirmed yesterday that the investigating judge had closed the investigation last week and sent the case to trial, with the alleged organiser of the party, British national Daniel Jones, the only one to face charges.

“So, only one will stand trial. For the date of the hearing, we are waiting for the chief of the court to decide,” he said.

Lawyer Sourng Sophea confirmed that he had received a notice last Monday that the case would proceed to trial.

Jones’s sister, Elizabeth, said she did not want to comment on her brother’s imminent trial, but said that his legal team would “vigorously” defend him against the charges, as well as against photos of the alleged “pornographic dancing” disseminated by the police.

At the time of the raid, the National Police released photos alongside those of the suspects, showing men and women in sexually suggestive positions, but fully clothed. The photos also appeared to have been taken at night, while the raided party was during daylight hours. Lawyers representing the 10 claimed that the photos had been taken at another party years ago.

“As you know our legal team is vigorously defending the charges that have been made against Daniel especially the use of archived images that are more than 3 years old,” Elizabeth Jones said in a message yesterday.

One of the partygoers who was immediately released also told The Post earlier this month that the party did not involve any nudity or drugs.

Additional reporting by Ananth Baliga

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