Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Supreme Court sends 2016 ‘drug dealer’ case back to Appeal Court

Supreme Court sends 2016 ‘drug dealer’ case back to Appeal Court

Supreme Court sends 2016 ‘drug dealer’ case back to Appeal Court

The Supreme Court on Monday sent the case of a man convicted in absentia in 2016 for drug dealing back to the Appeal Court after the defence lawyer said a fake document was used to implicate his client.

Chuong Choungy, the defence lawyer for Meng Ratanak, 33, had told the Supreme Court on January 21 that officers from the Phnom Penh municipal police’s drugs unit used a fake document to implicate his client in the trafficking case where 24 packets of methamphetamine were discovered at a rented room in the capital’s Sen Sok district.

Five people were arrested in the raid at Spean Cher Road in Teuk Thla commune on June 14, 2015, but Ratanak was not one of them. He has been in hiding from police ever since.

On 13 June 2016, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Ratanak in absentia to five years imprisonment and ordered him to pay a 10 million riel fine ($2,500) for drug trafficking and using illicit substances in violation of articles 40 and 44 of the Law on Drug Control.

The other five defendants were found guilty of using drugs and sentenced to four years in prison for their role in the crime.

An ID card purportedly belonging to Ratanak was used by police to implicate him in the case, while a witness came forward to say he was a drug dealer.

Choungy told the judge that his client had lost his ID card in 2012 – something corroborated by local authorities.

He said his client reported the loss of his ID card on April 6, 2015 – more than two months before the drug bust occurred – to Kandal province’s Kandal Stung commune authorities.

The local authorities issued a letter confirming that Ratanak’s ID card had been lost since June 26, 2012.

Presiding Judge Saly Theara read out the Supreme Court’s verdict on Monday.

“A witness claimed that Meng Ratanak rented a room for drug trafficking, but his ID was not found by police in the rented room."

“For this reason, the Supreme Court requests the Appeal Court to review the case and the Supreme Court also rejects the Appeal Court’s verdict,” he said.

Defence lawyer Choungy told The Post on Monday that the Supreme Court had made the right decision by asking the Appeal Court to review the case.

“The Supreme Court’s verdict was fair because the verdict renders justice to my client after the Appeal Court had neglected evidence. The Supreme Court has re-considered the evidence that will help free my client,” he said.

Choungy had previously said, “I don’t know where police chief Eav Phearith from the Phnom Penh municipal police’s anti-drug office got my client’s ID card to use as evidence to charge him in this case.

“[Phearith] used a copy of an ID card as false evidence and arranged a witness to accuse my client of being a drug dealer.”

Phearith denied Choungy’s accusation.

MOST VIEWED

  • South Korea’s first lady brings hope to ill boy

    South Korea’s first lady Kim Keon-hee – wife of current president of the Republic of Korea, Yoon Suk Yeol – met with a 14-year-boy with congenital heart disease during her trip to the Kingdom for the ASEAN Summit. After their meeting it was announced that the

  • Hun Sen gets Covid, shuns G20, APEC summits

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said he has tested positive for Covid-19 in Indonesia, where he is slated to attend the G20 summit in his capacity of the ASEAN chair. In a social media post addressing the Cambodian public, he said: “Before leaving Cambodia, I always

  • Moody’s sets outlook rating to ‘negative’ for Cambodia

    US global rating agency Moody’s Investors Service Inc on November 15 announced that it downgraded Cambodia’s outlook from “stable” to “negative” and maintained its B2 local and foreign currency issuer ratings. “The negative outlook reflects a deteriorating external position as illustrated by the severe

  • Hun Sen’s Covid infection caused by ‘weakened antibody’ after summit

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said exhaustion from heavy workload before and during the recent ASEAN Summit may have led to him contracting Covid-19 due to his weakened immune system, while rejecting speculations that the infection was caused by leaders of some countries who did not

  • Korean first lady paves way for ill boy’s surgery

    A 14-year-old boy with congenital heart disease who was lucky enough to meet with South Korean first lady Kim Keon-hee may get the chance of a lifetime and receive surgery and treatment at Asan Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea. After seeing his plight, many

  • Kingdom’s rice crowned world’s No1

    Cambodia’s Phka Rumduol jasmine variety has been crowned the World’s Best Rice for the fifth time at the TRT (The Rice Trader) World Rice Conference in Phuket, Thailand on November 17, according to leaders of the Kingdom’s apex rice industry body. Phka Rumduol