Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Man in appeal court over life imprisonment charge

Man in appeal court over life imprisonment charge

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Sorn Pov walks into his appeal court hearing. Kim Sarom

Man in appeal court over life imprisonment charge

A man who was given a life sentence for his involvement in his friend’s murder in Battambang province, asked the Appeal Court on Wednesday to reduce the sentence since he was not the main perpetrator of the crime.

The accused, 29 year-old Sorn Pov, told Appeal Court Judge Sin Visal that he is a drug addict and on April 11, 2014, he and his friend, 28 year-old Sok Chan were drinking alcohol in Kamrieng district’s Boeung Raing commune.

He said they decided to phone the victim, Ly Sovannarith, and ask him if he wanted to meet and buy drugs to consume together.

Sovannarith arrived on a motorbike and was directed towards the quiet area under the pretence of purchasing drugs. When they reached a quiet area, Chan took out a stone and began attacking him in the neck from behind, at which point Sovannarith began to fight back, he said.

He said he then held the victim’s hands at the back while Chan pummelled him to death with the stone. “We killed him only because we wanted his money. We planned to kill him,” Pov said. He also said they took a gold necklace and a ring before disposing of the body in a nearby pond.

They killed Sovannarith, he said, so as not to leave any evidence of the robbery so he couldn’t report them to the police afterwards. A resident spotted the body days after the murder and informed commune police.

Initially, police believed Sovannarith had drowned, but after examining the body they concluded that he was murdered and launched an investigation. Pov was arrested shortly afterwards but Chan escaped.

The provincial court announced the verdict of life imprisonment on June 29, 2016, after finding him guilty of premeditated murder under Article 200 of the Criminal Code. The authorities also ordered stepped-up efforts to find Chan.

Pov said: “I have appealed to the court because I disagreed with the provincial court’s decision to give me life imprisonment. I ask the court to reduce my sentence,” he said.

Prosecutor Pen Sarath said the accused had confessed to the offence which matched police findings so the judge should use his discretion to consider leniency.

Pov’s defence lawyer Nou Chantha concluded that his client made the confession and was not the main perpetrator in the murder. He also said there was no third party evidence or proof that the accused was involved in the murder at all.

“If the killing was because of revenge, he would not have taken Sovannarith’s property. I ask the judges to change the charge to stealing property with aggravating circumstance that caused the victim’s death,” he said.

Judge Visal said the verdict will be handed down on March 29.


  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped

  • Kingdom, China rebut basis for US sanctions

    The Council for the Development of Cambodia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Tianjin Union Investment Development Group Co Ltd (Tianjin) have responded to US sanctions on Union Development Group Co Ltd (UDG), a Chinese-owned company currently developing the sprawling $3.8 billion Dara

  • Influenza breaks out in eight provinces

    Nearly 600 people have been infected with influenza in eight provinces in the past month, Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said. The ministry is advising extreme caution. A report released by Vandine on Saturday said the Ministry of Health observed transmissions of influenza between August 15

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • CNRP activist freed; Sam Rainsy pledges return to Kingdom

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday released former CNRP activist Oeur Narith on bail after the court ended its questioning on suspicion of receiving money from abroad and plotting to overthrow the government, according to the authorities. National Police spokesman Chhay Kim Khoeun confirmed