Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Court stalls on child-sex case

Court stalls on child-sex case

Court stalls on child-sex case

THE Appeal Court yesterday ordered further investigations into the case against a German man accused of having sex with four underage boys in 2006, citing uncertainty about the age of the boys at the time of the alleged crimes.

Alexander Moritz Watrin, 40, was arrested in April 2006 in Sihanoukville and charged with debauchery, a crime that no longer exists, after four boys said they had had sex with him.

He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay US$5,000 to each of the victims.

In February 2009, the Appeal Court upheld the conviction but cut the sentence by three years, citing a change in child-sex laws.

Following a further appeal at the Supreme Court, the case was sent back to the Appeal Court in April because of a lack of evidence.
Presiding Judge Seng Sivutha said yesterday that the ages of the boys remained in dispute.

“We have ordered further investigation following a request by the Supreme Court to investigate the real ages of the boys,” he said.
Defence lawyer Pich Sorya said he was happy with the decision, and called the case “complex”.

“The decision was made by the Supreme Court to find out the truth whether or not my client has committed these allegations,” he said.

He also said the prosecution lacked evidence, including a doctor’s examination of the victims, and that the only evidence it had was their testimony.

But Samleang Seila, director of child protection NGO Action Pour Les Enfants, questioned that there was a need for further investigation.

“It seems a little strange that it is necessary to investigate the ages of the victims, because the lower court and Appeal Court have already decided that they were all less than 15 at the time of the incident,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea