Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Holloway faces pedophile charges in Aust



Holloway faces pedophile charges in Aust

Holloway faces pedophile charges in Aust

FORMER Australian Ambassador to Phnom Penh John Holloway is due to face a Canberra

jury on April 30 charged with having underage sex with two Cambodian youths.

It is not known how the youths will testify, whether by video, by satelitte link

or flown in person to appear in court; nor is it known how many charges have been

brought.

Holloway, 52, - who worked after his time as ambassador as an advisor to Foreign

Affairs Ministers Prince Norodom Sirivudh and later Ung Huot - will be just the second

Australian to be tried under recently-passed "child sex tourism" laws that

grant courts "extra-territorality", or jurisdiction on matters that occured

off Australian shores. The maximum penalty is 17 years in jail.

Australian Federal police have worked on the case against Holloway since July last

year.

To bring the case to court there must be prima facie evidence on every element of

the charges, and for the case be in the public interest.

The charges against Holloway have been brought by the Australian Director of Public

Prosection, and it is understood that some NGOs in Phnom Penh have been working with

Australian Federal police on gathering evidence.

One source close to the case said that Holloway and two other officials who used

to work for Foreign Affairs - all of whom had had postings in Phnom Penh - first

came to the attention of authorities "ten years ago" after pornographic

material had been discovered in a diplomatic pouch.

The source confirmed however that the present charges against Holloway had only come

under "active consideration" since July 1995.

The Holloway case, the source said, had wide implications "and a lot of quirky

features."

"First, this a tragedy for Holloway, but it's also a tragedy for Australia,

because Australia's trying to project influence into Southeast Asia and made a substantial

investment in UNTAC. It would be unfortunate if that's undermined.

"There's a difficulty too if these [Cambodian] youths get flown over to Australia.

Holloway's defence will argue that they'll say 'yes' to anything.

"Whatever evidence is offered will be faced with the same problem. If it's argued

that the NGOs were over-zealous, or were not experts in questioning kids and could

have been seen to be suggestive in their questioning, then the jury could throw it

out," the source said.

The source said that although possible "contamination" of evidence made

it likely that getting a conviction in this case would be "very, very difficult,"

now was not the most opportune time for anyone - much less a former ambassador -

to be charged with being a pedophile.

"There's a Royal Commission of Inquiry now into corruption in the New South

Wales police force, which must be one of the most corrupt in the world, even considering

Cambodia's," the source said.

"There are allegations that police have been covering up for pedophiles... There

are heightened concerns about this issue now. It's not a good climate to be accused

of pedophilia. And in this case, it's not just the abuse of trust of children, it

is the abuse of trust of high office," the source said.

Holloway has strongly and consistently denied accusations of pedophilia. He was called

a pedophile by an Australian Parliamentary backbencher under privilege in June last

year - something Holloway said appalled and angered him, and had ruined his career.

Holloway said at the time that no matter how much he denied the charges, they would

always now be believed.

MOST VIEWED

  • Cambodia on the verge of national tragedy, WHO warns

    The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia warned that the country had reached another critical point amid a sudden, huge surge in community transmission cases and deaths. “We stand on the brink of a national tragedy because of Covid-19. Despite our best efforts, we are

  • Phnom Penh curfew starts today

    A two-week curfew from 8pm to 5am starts today in Phnom Penh, a day after a sub-decree detailing administrative measures to contain Covid-19 was issued by Prime Minister Hun Sen. “Travelling in Phnom Penh is temporally banned between 8pm and 5am,” said Phnom Penh governor

  • Vaccination open to foreigners in Cambodia

    The Ministry of Health on April 8 issued an announcement on Covid-19 vaccination for foreigners residing and working in Cambodia, directing the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training and local authorities to register them. Health minister Mam Bun Heng, who is also head of the inter-ministerial

  • Cambodia gears up for muted New Year festival

    The recent curfew and restrictions imposed in the capital and other Covid-19 hotspots were intended to break the chain of transmission, Ministry of Health spokeswoman Or Vandine said as municipal and provincial authorities issued new directives banning certain activities during the upcoming Khmer New Year

  • Culture ministry: Take Tuol Sleng photos down, or else

    The Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts has told Irish photographer Matt Loughrey to take down the photos of Khmer Rouge victims at Tuol Sleng Genocidal Museum which he allegedly colourised and altered to show them smiling. The ministry said Loughrey's work is unacceptable, affecting

  • Covid-19 vaccination now obligatory

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on April 11 issued a sub-decree making Covid-19 vaccination compulsory for individuals unless they have a medical certificate proving they have pre-existing health conditions that prevent them from doing so. «This applies to all members of the armed forces and civil servants