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Nurse convicted in landmark Cambodian surrogacy case appeals

Australian surrogacy nurse Tammy Davis-Charles is escorted into the Appeal Court yesterday.
Australian surrogacy nurse Tammy Davis-Charles is escorted into the Appeal Court yesterday. Kim Sarom

Nurse convicted in landmark Cambodian surrogacy case appeals

Convicted Australian nurse and surrogacy agency founder Tammy Davis-Charles was in Appeal Court yesterday to request a reduction in her sentence, citing deteriorating health conditions.

Davis-Charles was sentenced to 18 months in prison in August in a landmark surrogacy trial. She was arrested for acting as an intermediary between pregnant women and adoptive parents one month after a ban on the surrogacy industry was imposed.

A draft law regulating commercial surrogacy is still in the works and expected next year.

“I would like to request the court to reduce the punishment for me so that I can leave prison soon and get treatment,” said Davis-Charles during the hearing, submitting a letter meant to confirm her diagnosis of cancer in the left eye.

Prosecutor Chea Met, however, said Davis-Charles already admitted to her crime, and therefore must be punished accordingly.

“The allegations of the Phnom Penh Municipal Court against the convict and her affiliates are correct. Therefore, I would like to uphold the verdict,” he said.

In November 2016, Davis-Charles was arrested by anti-trafficking police, along with Minister of Commerce official Pich Rithy and nurse Samrith Chakriya.

Davis-Charles assisted 23 Cambodian surrogates during their pregnancies, with 18 of them carrying children for Australians.

Rithy and Chakriya did not appeal their 18 month prison sentences, which will expire for the entire trio in five months.

Following the hearing, presiding Judge Kem Dany said a decision on Davis-Charles’ appeal would be made on January 8.

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