Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lawyer fired, trial opens

Lawyer fired, trial opens

Lawyer fired, trial opens

110915_4
James D’Agostino (centre) enters the Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday.

The trial of an American charged with purchasing child prostitutes opened in a whirl of controversy yesterday when the mother of one of the alleged victims claimed her son had been forced to make false accusations against the suspect and demanded that the court appoint her a new lawyer.

James D’Agostino, 57, was arrested on February 16 in Phnom Penh’s Toul Kork district and charged with sexually abusing three boys between seven and 14 years old.

However, before the trial began, Chea Sony, mother of an 11-year-old alleged victim, requested a new lawyer and dismissed the appointed lawyer from Action Pour Les Enfants.

“They [APLE} have forced [my son] to make accusations against the suspect. Therefore, I do not need them to defend my son anymore,” she told the Post yesterday.  She also said that the children were forced by police to file complaints against the American.  “I have not filed any complaint against the suspect because I know that he has not committed any crime against my son.”

These claims were disputed by dismissed APLE lawyer Peng Maneth, who said parents of the victims had failed to cooperate in the case because they had received money from the suspect.

“Since I was appointed by the court to defend them, I have worked very hard, but the parents will not cooperate,” Peng Maneth said. “The parents used to get money from the suspect, so they do not want to sue him although he committed crimes against their sons,” she said.

The next hearing is scheduled for October 10.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • Cambodia nabs 12th place in best retirement destinations

    Cambodia is an expatriate hotspot for those dreaming of living a more luxurious lifestyle at an affordable cost, according to International Living’s Annual Global Retirement Index 2019. For the fourth year in a row, Cambodia took the top spot in the Cost of Living category.

  • EU starts EBA withdrawal

    The EU on Monday announced that it has begun the 18-month process of withdrawing the Kingdom’s access to its preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement over “a deterioration of democracy [and] respect for human rights”. However, the Garment Manufacturers Association of Cambodia (GMAC) said

  • PM: War result of foreign meddling

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said on Sunday that Cambodia’s recent history of conflict was caused by foreign interference. “The wars that happened were caused by provocation, incitement, support, smearing and interference from foreign powers, and the group of ignorant people who pushed Cambodia to