A man who has served eight years of an 11-year prison term for five separate counts of theft requested an Appeal Court judge reduce his sentence on Tuesday, saying he was only guilty of one offence – the theft of a motorbike in 2011.
Hang Chan Darong, 41, told the Appeal Court that Takeo provincial court had found him guilty of five crimes, with each conviction carrying a sentence of three to four years in prison.
He said he had only stolen the motorbike in the province’s Bati district and had nothing to do with the other four crimes.
Chan Darong told the judge that on October 5, 2011 he and an accomplice, known as “Khnak”, were riding their motorbikes in Taing Doung commune’s Taing Doung village when they saw an unattended motorbike parked in front of a house.
The pair stopped and tried to steal the motorbike, he said. But while Khnak was trying to start it, he was spotted by the motorbike’s owner who shouted for villagers to come and help.
The villagers caught Khnak and beat him to death, while Chan Darong fled the scene and turned himself in to commune police afterwards.
“This incident was heard by Takeo provincial court, which pronounced its verdict on June 27, 2011, sentencing me to two years in prison for theft with aggravating circumstances.
“However, I ask the Appeal Court to lower my sentence because I have an elderly mother who I need to take care of. And I have already served more than eight years in prison,” Chan Darong said.
Prosecutor Chum Sen Sothea concluded that Chan Darong had only confessed to one crime, and denied any involvement in the other four.
He therefore asked the court to review documents related to all five crimes.
Defence lawyer Kin Vibol told The Post that he had been representing Chan Darong since the Takeo provincial court case. He said his client had been charged with some of the crimes while he was already in prison. He disputed the provincial court’s findings.
“In some cases, the court convicted my client without evidence or witnesses. I hope the panel will defer to the request of my client,” he added.
Presiding Judge Samrith Sophal said the court would issue a verdict on April 9.