Kandal Provincial Court yesterday postponed questioning of a lawyer who has represented the oppos-ition Sam Rainsy Party after he said in court he could not respond to questions because all eight of his defence lawyers were not present.
Choung Choungy said outside the court that provincial court judge Sin Virak had not questioned him yesterday because only one of his eight lawyers had accompanied him.
Choung Choungy has been charged with aiding and abetting the escape of his client Meas Peng, the deputy chief of Kien Svay district’s Banteay Dek commune, from prison in September last year.
Seven lawyers that the Bar Association of Cambodia had appointed to represent him had not received official invitations from the provincial court to represent him, he said.
“The judge asked me whether or not I can give answers. I said that I cannot give answers; [I] must have the eight lawyers present,” Choung Choungy said, adding that the judge had agreed with him.
Sok Sam Oeun, executive director of the Cambodian Defenders Project and Choung Choungy’s eighth lawyer, said that after Choung Choungy said he could not answer questions, the judge had called his lawyers and delayed the hearing.
Yim Sary, one of Choung Choungy’s lawyers and a Bar Association spokesman, said the invitations had been issued, but had not yet reached them.
The lawyers had requested that the judge delay questioning, he said.
Judge Sin Virak told the Post he had issued the invitation for the lawyers on February 6, but was unsure whether it had reached them.
He had not yet set another court date to question Choung Choungy, Judge Sin Virak said.
Sok Sam Oeun said the law was not clear about whether a defendant’s full defence team needed to attend court in order for questioning to take place. “If the clients need that and the judge agrees, it is okay,” he said.