Charge of an Australian national paying for sex with a minor require further investigation in light of the five-year-old alleged victim retracting her accusation, the Appeals Court announced yesterday.
Presiding Judge Plang Samnang said there was inadequate evidence against Giuseppe Nicolosi, 57, but that further investigation was necessary because “the court suspected that the victim reversed her answers and withdrew her complaint because she or her parents had received benefits from the suspect”.
Nicolosi was sentenced by Siem Reap Provincial Court to eight years in prison and a 5 million riel fine [about US$1,250] last year for paying for sex with the girl in 2010. He has remained in detention as his appeal has gone forward.
“To find truth and justice for both victim and suspect in this case, the court orders that one of its investigative judges directly interview the victim, her parents and other relevant witnesses in Siem Reap,” Samnang said, adding that he has ordered Nicolosi’s transfer from Prey Sar to the Siem Reap provincial prison so he can be present for questioning.
Nicolosi yesterday maintained that he had not committed the offence.
“The victim said that I did not do it and the victim’s family also said I did not do it,” he said yesterday.
“But the court did not free me. So what do they want for me? There is no justice in Cambodia.”
Samleang Seila, APLE country director, said that victims and their families are often bribed by suspects to change their answers or withdraw their complaints.
The victim’s family and lawyer could not be reached for comment.
To contact the reporter on this story: Buth Reaksmey Kongkea at [email protected]