A foreign lawyer trying to represent Gavin Scott says the British doctor's
prosecution has become a "political tug of war" with little prospect of a fair
"I'm not sure I'm prepared to legitimize what is a farce by trying
to give this guy a defense," Robert Carlin said on Monday, after unsuccessfully
seeking official approval to represent Scott.
"I don't know that if Jesus
Christ were his lawyer, it would change the outcome. That doesn't mean that he
is going to lose, but that the final decision will be made from high
"I don't want to be the blush on the rotten apple," said Carlin, who
was debating whether to drop the case.
Scott was sent to T3 prison on
June 24 after being charged with raping boys.
Carlin alleged that Scott
had consistently been denied access to a lawyer - violating his rights under
UNTAC law - in police custody and later in prison.
That was enough to
warrant Scott's immediate release from prison, he said. But until Scott had an
approved lawyer, no request for him to be freed could be made.
attempting to get Phnom Penh Municipal Court approval to jointly represent Scott
with a Khmer defender.
He said that, as of Monday (July 10), he had tried
three times to get permission from judge Ya Sokhan, investigating Scott's case.
Each time he had been rebuffed.
In the meantime, Scott had been denied
the right to legal advice, to apply for release or bail, and to receive a copy
of the complaint against him.
Carlin said he had twice been turned away
from T3 Prison when trying to see Scott. He had got inside, with other visitors
to Scott, on two other occasions.
These were not "lawyer-client", private
meetings because other people had been present.
The only other time he
saw Scott was when the doctor first appeared in court on June 23, and was
charged with rape.
The charge followed a complaint to police - relating
to child prostitution, not rape - by NGOs which had testimonies from five
children, aged 14 and 15, against him.
Whether Carlin can represent Scott
is unclear. A recent law bars foreigners from representing criminal defendants,
though they are believed to be free to advise Khmer lawyers.
English-born former US public defender, arrived in Cambodia a month ago. He is
associated with the Cambodian Defenders Project but is not paid by them, nor
acting on their behalf in Scott's case.
Carlin said Scott "should be free
right now" because UNTAC law allowed the immediate release of inmates whose
procedural rights were violated.
Carlin said he had sought the support of
the British Embassy, but "frankly, their level of aggression and their approach
to this is sorely lacking."
He had also unsuccessfully approached the
United Nations Center for Human Rights, which replied it had no mandate to make
representations on Scott's behalf.
Carlin was most critical of the local
human rights group Licadho, who he said laid the initial police complaint
"I think that someone needs to check their mandate. I have
a huge problem with human rights groups, both overtly and covertly, abrogating
this guy's rights.
"It's no secret that the police were ready to release
Dr Scott for lack of evidence until someone from Licadho jumped up and down and
that decision was miraculously revoked.
"I find that bitterly ironic...
This guy has rights too, and the ends do not justify the means."
said that from preliminary inquiries he believed there were "several defects in
the prosecution case" and "huge problems with the credibility of the
He objected to Licadho having housed three of the child
complainants, as that left the opportunity for "manipulation" of them.
alleged one of the children had boasted to an employee of Scott's about how he
was being housed and well-fed by Licadho.
Carlin suggested the
complainants were "kids who I suspect are happy to say whatever for whomever,
depending on what they are given to say what needs to be said".
you're dealing with a streetkid, a bed in a nice air-conditioned room - that
could be a pretty good incentive."
Asked about the need to protect the
children, he said: "Why wasn't another agency found to look after the kids? It's
too late now."
Carlin said the charge of rape against Scott was
Told that NGOs also wanted Scott charged with having sex
with under-age children, he said: "I don't know the ages of these kids. I don't
know how old they look. I cannot responsibly answer that question until I get
He said that while NGOs had "made their point" about
pedophilia in Cambodia, Scott had been "hung out to dry because he is a soft
"I think that nobody, including Dr Scott, would deny there is a
[pedophilia] problem but he's not the problem.
"It doesn't make any sense
to make a scapegoat of someone... while the people who are the real problem are
still walking around."
Licadho spokeswoman Naly Pilorge said she knew
nothing about problems with getting a lawyer for Scott, and had believed that he
had a Khmer defender.
"Of course he is absolutely entitled to a defense.
I am surprised he does not have a defender - it's an easy
Licadho's mandate was to promote and protect human rights,
which included ensuring all people - defendants and victims - have access to
But in Scott's case, Licadho would have a conflict
of interest if it interfered with the appointment of a defender for
On the issue of the police almost releasing Scott, she said Licadho
had believed the court was in the best position to assess the evidence. It was
the court's decision to charge and detain Scott.
Pilorge said Licadho had
housed three of the five complainants at its offices, until other NGOs had
arranged to accommodate them.
"The first priority had to be protecting
the children, which is different than protecting adults. We couldn't just send
them back on the streets.
"Attempts were made to get government
involvement in caring for these children. Now other NGOs are doing that. We
don't even know where the children are."
The children had been given no
money, only a room to sleep in, food and basic clothes.
never offer any inducement of any kind to any one to give false information,
"There is an implication that because they are Khmer and
they are streetchildren, these children are not to be believed.
are not kids who are comfortable. These are abused kids who are scared and don't
know what's going to happen to them.
"We have seen the evidence; we
believe the children and the courts should be left to give him a fair
Licadho was one of 12 NGOs - members of the group End Child
Prostitution in Asian Tourism (ECPAT) - which compiled the Scott case over five
ECPAT was well-aware that others - foreigners and Khmers - were
involved in the sexual abuse of both boys and girls.