The Phnom Penh Municipal Court will hold the first hearing in the trial against Australian filmmaker James Ricketson on Friday, after closing the investigation last month, Ricketson’s defence lawyer said.
The Australian was arrested last June while flying a drone over a Cambodia National Rescue Party commune-election rally in Phnom Penh.
He was charged with “acts of collecting information which may undermine national defence”, which, according to Article 446 of the Penal Code, means Ricketson could face between five and 10 years in jail if found guilty.
Peung Yok Hiep, Ricketson’s lawyer, told The Post on Monday that she recently received information from the Phnom Penh Municipal Court that the first hearing would be held on June 15. She said she may request a postponement.
“The investigative judge just closed the investigation and then the case was sent to trial. This is too quick for us to make proper preparations,” Yok Hiep said on Monday.
Ricketson’s adopted daughter Roxanne Holmes started an online petition calling on the Australian government to bring him home. As of Monday, more than 76,000 people had signed the petition.
Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it had provided consular assistance to Ricketson since his arrest and are “liaising with Mr Ricketson’s next of kin and local legal representatives.
“The minister for foreign affairs has also raised Mr Ricketson’s case with the Cambodian government.”