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Spying case against Ricketson delayed

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Australian filmmaker James Ricketson is seen at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Monday. Pha Lina

Spying case against Ricketson delayed

The hearing on the espionage case against Australian filmmaker James Ricketson was postponed again on Monday at the request of the defendant and his legal team.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court delayed the trial late last month after Ricketson’s lawyer asked for a continuance.

At Monday’s hearing, Ricketson was accompanied by a new legal team – Kong Sam Onn and Peung Yok Hiep. He and his attorneys requested another delay, citing the need to study a 400-page evidentiary document that was only recently received.

Sam Onn provided two reasons for the delay.

“I requested a delay because I was just hired by my client and haven’t studied the case clearly and the 400-pages of evidence. Secondly, I need to meet with my client at the prison to discuss the case further,” he said.

Ricketson agreed with his lawyers.

“I just got the evidence document of more than 400 pages and I haven’t read it all. I cannot defend myself before I have read it. I have been in jail for more than a year and just received this evidence. So, I agree with the delay,” he said.

The 69-year-old filmmaker was arrested in June last year after he was seen flying a drone over a CNRP rally in Phnom Penh. He was charged with the “act of collecting information which may undermine national defence”, running afoul of Article 446 of the Criminal Code. If found guilty, Ricketson faces 10 years in prison.

Presiding Judge Seng Leang, after a short deliberation, approved the defendant’s request and set the new trial date for August 16.

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