Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Lawyers skirmish over who should be called to disciplinary council

Lawyers skirmish over who should be called to disciplinary council

Lawyers skirmish over who should be called to disciplinary council

Attorney for Mu Sochua says complaint against him is politically motivated and his accuser, Hun Sen's attorney, should appear before the bar.

THE two parties involved in a high-profile Bar Association complaint squared off Sunday over who should be required to appear before the association's disciplinary council.

Kong Sam Onn, the lawyer for opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, was found guilty of violating articles 4, 6 and 15 of the Bar Association rules earlier this month and has been summoned to face the disciplinary council on July 7, the association announced last week.

But the embattled attorney on Sunday said the person who brought the complaint, Hun Sen's attorney Ky Tech, should also be required to explain the details of his case before the council.

Politically motivated

Kong Sam Onn dismissed the Bar Association's decision as politically motivated and said he had not erred while representing opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua, whose defamation suit against Hun Sen is at the root of the dispute.

"This is a general issue. It is not a defamation case. It is a matter between an attorney and his client. I don't know how else to describe this except to say that it is also a political issue as well," Kong Sam Onn said Sunday.

But Ky Tech said he had no obligation to appear before the Bar Association because he had not been accused of any wrongdoing.

"The law does not say that the plaintiff must appear before the disciplinary council. As I understand the Bar Association procedures, if the council had found anything wrong in accusations against the defendant, then they would address them with the defendant," Ky Tech said.

He added that so far the council had not asked him to appear.  

Evidence is sufficient

Suon Visal, general secretary of the Bar Association, said Monday that the council was allowed to summon Ky Tech, but that it had already heard enough evidence to reach a decision in the Kong Sam Onn case.

IT IS NOT A DEFAMATION CASE. IT IS A MATTER BETWEEN AN ATTORNEY AND HIS CLIENT.

But he added that his  absence could, under certain circumstances, weaken  the evidence submitted in the complaint.

"According to procedure, when someone sues another person, the plaintiff appears in court to clarify issues of evidence," Suon Visal said. "If not, the case could be weakened."

He added: "If the complaint does not include enough evidence of wrongdoing, the court must rely on testimony by the plaintiff to determine the case," Suon Visal said.

He also dismissed any suggestion that the Bar Association was under political pressure and said the council's actions in the case were in strict accordance with the law.

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