G AVIN SCOTT'S 92-day detention in T3 prison on rape charges is heading for a
resolution with negotiations now underway for a Oct 3 trial.
defence has been boosted by the arrival of former Cambodian Defenders Project
(CDP) co-founder Joyce Bang, who will act as a legal advisor to defender Oum
Bang - who has ten years experience in the United States as a
lawyer, seven years of which were in criminal law, the last four as Assistant US
Attorney in Washington - stressed she would not be representing Scott in
Bang - who arrived back in Cambodia on Sept 11 - is helping Samuel
prepare a defence she considers very strong.
"[Scott] on this
[prosecution] evidence is definitely, absolutely not guilty of rape... he should
not be in jail right now...".
Though Bang preferred not to elaborate, it
is possible that the Cambodian legal system will be asked to rule on a series of
procedural questions relating to Scott's legal rights, based on the UNTAC law he
is being charged under.
A probable trial date of Oct 3 is "being
negotiated, in accordance with the law and subject to us finishing our
investigations," she said.
Scott, a well-known British doctor, was
arrested on rape charges on June 23.
However, he has been unable to
obtain a defence deemed adequate by many, including some human rights
The USAID-funded CDP - where Bang co-trained 25 defenders for
12 months, as well as set up the Cambodian Court Training Project training
judges and prosecutors for six months in Washington DC and Cambodia - was
conflicted from representing Scott.
CDP's then interim director Michael
Karnavas gave advice on the case to Licadho's Naly Pilorge at Pilorge's request.
Licadho is a member of ECPAT, the NGO umbrella group who pressed charges against
"I couldn't believe CDP couldn't represent [Scott]... I spent a
year here training 25 excellent defenders, each one of whom would have done a
fabulous job on this case," Bang said.
She said the situation "was really
unfair... here in a community where everyone talks about human
Bang said she was confident that the training she had done
within the Cambodian justice system would pay off. "If they apply the legal
procedures then justice will be done, it's what everyone is looking for... this
is like a test case for the work I helped do here," she said.
she was home in the United States when she saw a Phnom Penh Post article on the
Scott case and "couldn't believe it... I couldn't sleep that night".
was just so torn up... I couldn't do much [from the United States]. That factor
and others made me come back," she said.
Bang said she was pleased with
the investigating judge in Scott's case, Nup Sophan. "He is ethical, fair and
competent. He thinks about the law and applying it according to legal principles
of fairness and justice."