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Supreme Court considers appeal in Trofimov case

Supreme Court considers appeal in Trofimov case

A catalogue of crimes

  • October 17, 2007 Trofimov is arrested in Sihanoukville on suspicion of sexually abusing up to 19 Cambodian girls.
  • March 11, 2008 Trofimov is sentenced to 13 years in jail on charges of having sexual intercourse with a minor.
  • October 3, 2008 Trofimov’s sentence is reduced to six years on appeal.
  • November 26, 2008 Preah Sihanouk court sentences Trofimov to eight more years in a separate case involving three underage girls.
  • January 19, 2009 The court sentences him to an extra three years in a third case involving 17 more girls.
  • January 20, 2010 After his appeal is rejected in August, Trofimov’s first case reaches the Supreme Court, which will hand down its verdict on January 27. Appeals are pending in the other two cases.

THE Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the appeal of a Russian national convicted of having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old Cambodian girl, and will hand down its verdict on January 27, court officials said.

Alexander Trofimov, 41, was arrested in Sihanoukville in October 2007 on suspicion he had sexually abused up to 19 Cambodian girls since 2005.

In March 2008, Phnom Penh Municipal Court convicted Trofimov under Cambodia’s old debauchery law and sentenced him to 13 years in prison – a term that was later reduced to six years on appeal. He is facing another 11 years in prison in connection with two other child sex charges.

Trofimov’s defence lawyer, Chea Hey, blamed his client’s failure to show up for Wednesday’s hearing on the man’s declining health and the fact that he is being held in Preah Sihanouk provincial prison.

In a note dated January 9, 2009, that was read out by a court clerk at Wednesday’s hearing, Trofimov – the former director of the US$300 million Koh Puos development in Preah Sihanouk province – said the charges against him were “absolutely unjust”.

Saing Vannak, another lawyer on Trofimov’s defence team, requested that the Supreme Court transfer the case back to the Appeal Court for further investigation.

“He has been innocent from the start, and I hope that the court will follow my request,” he said, adding that there had been “holes” in the investigations conducted by Phnom Penh Municipal Court and the Appeal Court, which rejected his first appeal in August.

“Both the Phnom Penh Municipal Court and Appeal Court made their decisions without relying on enough evidence and witnesses to press the charges against him,” he said.

But one of the victim’s co-lawyers, Nuon Phanith, defended the two previous court rulings, saying that Trofimov’s two other convictions showed he had an established background as a child sex offender.

“Both of the court’s decisions were right and just, based on enough evidence and witnesses, so they cannot confuse the truth,” he said.

“In total, 19 girls have been victimised and sexually abused by the man.”

During Wednesday’s hearing, court prosecutor Seng Bunkheang also called on the Supreme Court’s five judges to uphold the earlier rulings.