THE Appeal Court on Friday postponed a hearing in an attempted murder case involving disgraced former Phnom Penh municipal police chief Heng Pov for the second time, after two convicted accomplices and a defence lawyer failed to appear at the courthouse.
Pheng Phai and Heng Veng, convicted with Heng Pov and Ly Rasy for the attempted murder of businessman Thong Uy Pang in 1998, were absent from court, along with Pheng Phai’s defence lawyer.
Heng Veng, Heng Pov’s cousin, is believed to be in hiding.
“We could not hear the case because it is a felony crime, which requires a lawyer representing for the accused,” said presiding Judge Seng Sivutha.
“We guarantee that we will proceed with the hearings but we must appoint a lawyer for [Pheng Phai].”
In April 2009, Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Heng Pov, Ly Rasy, Pheng Phai and Heng Veng to 18 years each in prison for the attempted murder of Thong Uy Pang.
A previous appeal hearing was postponed by the court in August, in part because Pheng Phai’s lawyer was not present.
Heng Pov told the court on Friday that he wanted the hearing to continue.
“I want [law students] to hear my story that the Municipal Court sentenced me without having enough evidence,” he said.
“I told the court that the killers were Thong Uy Pang’s bodyguards, but the judges ignored me and have never launched any investigations or summoned anyone to testify over the case,” he added.
Heng Pov’s defence lawyer Kao Soupha said that his client was angered by the postponement, which blamed on prison officials.
“It is the fault of general prison department officials for failing to transport inmates to hearings,” he said.
Heng Hak, director of the General Department of Prisons at the Ministry of Interior, could not be reached for comment.
Heng Pov was arrested in 2006 and has since been sentenced to nearly 100 years in prison on a raft of charges including extortion, kidnapping and murder.