The Supreme Court will deliver its verdict in early April after hearing a complaint on Wednesday by senior policeman Hun Chea contesting his conviction last year for shooting several rounds in the air at his home in Phnom Penh.
Wednesday’s hearing, which lasted some 15 minutes, was held in the absence of Chea, and with only his defence lawyer and the prosecutor present.
Kim Sathavy, one of the four presiding judges, concluded by saying: “In this case, a verdict will be announced on April 3.”
In May last year, the three-star lieutenant general of the National Police, Hun Chea, was sentenced by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to 18 months in prison for making a death threat – violating Article 233 of the Criminal Code – and for intentionally causing damage – in accordance with Article 410.
Following Chea’s subsequent appeal, 12 months of his sentence were suspended.
Ky Buntrean, Chea’s defence lawyer, said during the hearing that his client requested the court to drop all charges against him. He maintained that the charges against his client were unjustified.
“There is a lot of counter-evidence proving that my client is not guilty, so the prosecutor’s charges are incorrect. Regarding the charge against my client of intentional damage, no one suffered loss or injury – and it is also his own household property."
“Furthermore, with regard to the charge against my client of threatening to kill, there were no other person at the scene,” he said.
After the hearing, Bunthan said the court would consider dropping the charges against Chea, but if they do not do so, his client would not file a further complaint.
However, Supreme Court prosecutor Chan Dara Rasmey said at the hearing that although the offence had no victim, in the interests of the public and in accordance with Cambodian law, Chea must be punished because the court had found that he had committed the crime.
“So [I request] the court, please uphold the verdicts of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and the Appeal Court as valid in the interests of the public,” he said.
On May 2 last year, Chea was immediately detained after he fired some 10 rounds in the air at his residence in Daun Penh district’s Psar Thmey I commune.
Soeung Sen Karuna, the spokesman for rights group Adhoc, said people had heard about Chea before. There were claims, Sen Karuna said, that he boasted about his power and used a gun and violence arbitrarily.
He said it was impossible for the court to drop the charges just because Chea claimed to have contrary evidence.
“Action, on this occasion, was taken in accordance with proper procedures – with most of his sentence suspended – because there was sufficient evidence. If the charges are to be dropped, I find the opposite to be true,” Sen Karuna said.
He added that he hoped the court would consider the case thoroughly.