AFTER the Kampong Cham Provincial Court charged Indradevi High School teacher Ou Chealy with reckless driving causing death, Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana on Wednesday requested the court chief and prosecutor to transfer the case to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in the interest of justice.
The request was made after the ministry received a letter on February 10 from Chealy’s defence lawyer requesting the transfer under Article 19 of the Law on Organisation of the Courts.
The ministry said it received the lawyer’s letter requesting the change of the trial venue for criminal case Nº 499 from the provincial court to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court relating to a traffic accident in Kampong Cham province’s Angkor Ban commune, in Kang Meas district.
The letter said: “The Kampong Cham Provincial Court charged [the teacher] with reckless driving causing death.”
According to the minister’s request, Chealy said the Science and Technology Police Department at the Ministry of Interior had conducted a postmortem of the body and it proved that he was not responsible for the death. But the provincial prosecutor still charged him for the crime.
The request read: “With no confidence in the competence of the Kampong Cham Provincial Court and residing in Phnom Penh, Chealy finds it difficult to travel to and fro to adhere to the provincial court procedures, so he requests the ministry change the trial venue from the provincial court to the municipal court.”
Vong Vathana said to ensure justice is served under Article 19 of the Law on Organisation of the Courts, the ministry forwarded the letter and relevant documentation to the provincial court chief and the prosecutor to transfer it to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court.
Meanwhile, 100 people including staff, teachers and students of the high school submitted the letter of complaint seeking intervention from Prime Minister Hun Sen to dispense justice to Chealy.
On Monday, Hun Sen’s Cabinet chief Ho Sithy forwarded the letter to the Minister of Justice for review.
The letter read: “We, all students and former students of teacher Ou Chealy and staff would like to inform Samdech Techo [Hun Sen] that please kindly help intervene to dispense justice to the teacher.
“Kampong Cham provincial court deputy prosecutor Top Chhunlong and investigative Judge Samai Linda unfairly charged Chealy with reckless driving killing others without exhibits. They are keeping a $10,000 bail and his car and refuse to release him. The charge is unprofessional and groundless.”
In a report issued after an investigation into the accident, the Department of Traffic Police and Public Order at the General Commissariat of National Police said on March 2 that it had not measured the location of the accident according to procedure.
The district police could not also build a case file to be referred to court. On January 24, the Kampong Cham provincial police in charge of public order issued a letter asking for comprehension and forgiveness for their negligence in building a case file.
Chealy said on Wednesday that the provincial court decided to charge him without its decision being based on the investigation report.
“So, it means that once the court sends me for a trial, I will become an accused person. Originally I am only a suspect. When I am still a suspect, the Kampong Cham Provincial Court doesn’t take the report of the police at the Ministry of Interior into consideration to discharge the burden from me.
“The court still charged me. The court knows only two words – the charge and money,” he said.
He said the charge against him by the provincial court was based only on the report from Kang Meas district police.
The Kampong Cham provincial traffic police acknowledged that procedures were carried out negligently and issued the letter asking for comprehension and forgiveness.