Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cop stopped lawyer from doing job: bar

Cop stopped lawyer from doing job: bar

Cop stopped lawyer from doing job: bar

Cambodia's bar association admonished the general prosecutor of the Appeal Court last week to ensure that authorities respect the role of lawyers after hearing that a police chief in Kampot town refused to acknowledge an attorney’s right to defend two men accused of theft.

According to a copy of the letter, dated August 20 and obtained by the Post yesterday, an attorney named Try Chhoun presented a letter to Kampot town police chief Ngem Vet stating that she was representing two clients – Lim Hour and Pin Rongdamrong – only to be denied recognition and told she could not defend the men until after they had been interrogated.

In the letter, bar association president Bun Hun argued that, under the law on the rights and role of lawyers, an “attorney can represent the client whenever the client agrees”, and that the defence of a client is not contingent on the permission of the authorities.

Vet, however, defended his decision yesterday, saying that because Chhoun presented the letter alone, he had no way of verifying that the two men had consented to be represented by her, and noted that Chhoun had little to defend against so far.

“How could she defend her clients when I have summonsed them two times already [and they didn’t come]?” he said.

Chhoun said yesterday that since the intervention she has been allowed to defend Hour and Rongdamrong, who have been officially charged with theft.

However, Hour said yesterday that neither had stolen anything from plaintiff Thun Vuthy, but had, in fact, taken back a table that Vuthy had borrowed when he was an opposition member, before defecting to ruling party.

“I met his wife and him, and we all agreed that I could transport [the table], because it’s the [opposition] party’s work table that the party kept at his house,” Hour said. “But now he’s with another political party, so his excellency Chea Poch, who is my boss, asked me to bring the table back.”

“At that time, Thun Vuthy took photos of me transporting the table, then I heard he was suing me for stealing his property,” he added.

MOST VIEWED

  • Reuters: US Embassy fired 32 staff members for sharing pornography

    The United States Embassy in Phnom Penh has fired 32 non-diplomatic staff members who were allegedly caught exchanging pornographic images and video, including of minors, according to the news agency Reuters. Four sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the content was shared in

  • Our 2018 guide to spending Khmer New Year in Phnom Penh

    Khmer New Year festivities are upon us. For the next few days, travellers will be making their way to their home provinces to eat, celebrate, play traditional games and visit a pagoda with offerings. If you will be staying put in Phnom Penh for the

  • US think tank warns of China's 'ulterior motives'

    A US think tank on Tuesday warned that spreading Chinese investment in the Indo-Pacific follows a pattern of leveraging geopolitical influence at the expense of the nations receiving investment, including Cambodia. The report looks at a sample of 15 Chinese port development projects, noting that the

  • More than three tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia seized in Mozambique

    A total of 3.5 tonnes of ivory reportedly bound for Cambodia was seized by authorities in Mozambique late last week, according to the NGO Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES' information was based on a report from the