The Appeal Court in Phnom Penh on Monday heard the case of a man sentenced to 10 years in prison for raping his daughter between August and September 2017.
Nuon Ratha, 38, was found guilty by the Tbong Khmum Provincial Court in April last year of raping his then 14-year-old daughter on three occasions.
Ratha lived in Neang Teut commune in Tbong Khmum province’s Dambe district with his daughter and second wife after divorcing the girl’s mother, the original court report said.
Not being close to her step-mother, the girl regularly went to sleep with her father, who raped her on three occasions when his wife was not in the house. Ratha threatened the girl into remaining silent.
However, Ratha regularly beat his wife and daughter, and the girl eventually told her step-mother of being raped. She then went to the police.
Neang Teut commune police arrested Ratha in October 2017.
Tbong Khmum Provincial Court on April 11 last year found Ratha guilty of “rape with aggravating circumstances due to the position of the perpetrator” under Article 240 of the Criminal Code and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.
Ratha told the judge at Monday’s hearing that he had raped his daughter on only two occasions.
“Whatever mistakes I have made, I accept them. I appealed to have the court reduce my sentence to five years in prison. If it cannot do this, then please decrease it by even one year,” he said.
Judge Nguon Ratana told Ratha that no natural father or step-father should ever abuse their responsibility to a child in this way and commit such an evil act – one so abhorrent to society.
“The appellant has not even shown any remorse for his inhuman act despite the experience being so traumatic for his daughter,” Judge Ratana said.
Prosecutor Chum Sensothea said the appellant had been sentenced correctly according to the law.
“Based on the Criminal Code, the offence carries a prison sentence of between seven and 15 years. The provincial court sentenced the offender to 10 years in jail, a punishment the prosecution would like the Appeal Court to uphold,” Sensothea said.
Defence lawyer Chan Sophea argued that his client had admitted raping his daughter and had not caused any physical injury to her. His said his client was committed to making amends to his daughter when released from prison.
“I would like the court, based on mitigating circumstances under Articles 93 and 94 of the Criminal Code, to lower my client’s sentence,” Sophea said.
Judge Ratana said the verdict will be announced on October 31.