Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Trial against two accused in rape-murder




Trial against two accused in rape-murder

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Chhoeuy Socheat (second from left) and Phlek Sony are escorted to the Appeal Court on Wednesday. Kim Sarom

Trial against two accused in rape-murder

The Appeal Court on Wednesday heard the 2017 case of two men accused of raping and killing a girl in Bavet commune’s Ta Pov village in Svay Rieng province’s Bavet town. They had earlier been sentenced to life in prison by the provincial court.

Chhoeuy Socheat, 36, a taxi driver, said on August 2, 2017, Good Luck Casino employee Sovann Sokdalin, 18, got on his cab to go downtown.

Socheat said Phlek Sony, 32, another taxi driver, called him to ask if he had a pretty passenger to which Socheat confirmed.

Upon arriving at Chiphou market in Bavet town’s Prey Angkunh commune, Sony who was waiting for Socheat told him to stop the car so he could grab a ride with them.

On the way, Socheat said Sony strangled the victim and proceeded to rape her.

“At the time, I told Sony to stop but he didn’t listen to me. I felt aroused later on so I stopped the car and raped her, too. After raping her, Sony pushed her into the water and laid stones on her so she would sink.

“I ask the court to reduce my sentence and only be asked to pay $5,000 in compensation,” said Socheat.

However, Sony denied the allegations and asked for his immediate release.

Roeun Sreylot, the victim’s mother, told the judge that she had called her daughter several times on the day of the incident but could not reach her. On the same day, she filed a missing persons report at the provincial police station.

Sokdalin’s body was found two days later. “I ask the [Appeal] Court to uphold the verdict of the Svay Rieng Provincial Court,” said Sreylot.

Court records said the police had arrested the two men in August 2017. The two were sentenced to life imprisonment on August 23 the following year under Article 205 of the Criminal Code. They were also ordered to jointly pay $60,000 in damages.

However, prosecutor Nget Sarath said Sony remained adamant in denying the accusations against him at the judicial police station, before the investigating judge and even at the Appeal Court.

Sarath said he believed Socheat was the one who raped the victim first as it had happened in his car, and he did not stop Sony from following suit.

“If [the Appeal Court] convicts those who are innocent or have not admitted to the allegations, then it would be unfair. I hope the Trial Chamber would deliberate properly regarding Phlek Sony’s sentence.

“But I believe Svay Rieng Provincial Court’s verdict against Chhoeuy Socheat must be upheld,” he said.

Uk Sisaket, the plaintiff’s lawyer said the evidence and answers of the two accused had corresponded closely to witness testimonies.

The Appeal Court should uphold the verdict of the provincial court, she said.

Meanwhile, Sony’s lawyer Chhy Sambath said Socheat laid the blame on his client, adding that the provincial court failed to consider Sony’s statement. “So, I ask the Appeal Court to please release my client”.

Socheat’s lawyer Ean Sam Ath said his client had come clean about his wrongdoing, so his willingness to confess must have bearing on the reduction of his sentence.

Trial Chamber president Sin Visal said a verdict would be handed down on February 19.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hungarian exposes 90 to Covid in Siem Reap

    The Ministry of Health has discovered 90 people who have been exposed directly or indirectly to a Hungarian man infected with Covid-19. They all are required to quarantine at home and the hospital. The ministry is searching for other affected people. Among the 90, one is the

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • ‘Bad news is an investor’s best friend’ – unlocking investment potential in Cambodia

    It is time to shop. Economic woes provide good pickings for investors if they know where to look The poem If, written by English Nobel laureate poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling for his son circa 1895, is widely perceived as fatherly advice for John who would

  • PM warns of ‘new Cold War’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said the possibility of a so-called new Cold War has become a significant concern and that all countries have to reject outright, any attempt to allow history to tragically repeat itself. He made the remarks in a speech during 75th Session

  • PM requests Russia’s Covid vaccine

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has requested that Russia provide Cambodia with its Covid-19 vaccine after the former announced it planned on mass vaccinating its population next month. The request came on Thursday through the prime minister’s Facebook page as he met with Anatoly Borovik,

  • First ‘mobile kitchen’ in Cambodia enters service

    A catering company recently rolled out Cambodia’s first “mobile kitchen” – a $50,000 container capable of serving up to 200 people at a time. The kitchen is the brainchild of Seng Hok Heng Catering Services. At 4.4m-high, 6.8m-long and 2.4m-wide (expandable to 6.8m), the kitchen is equipped