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

  • Massive stingrays may live in Mekong’s deep pools

    US scientists have suggested that unexplored deep pools in the Mekong River in an area of Stung Treng could potentially be home to significant populations of giant freshwater stingrays, one of the world’s largest freshwater fish species. This comes as a fisherman hooked a 180

  • CCC team off on US business trip

    The Kingdom’s leading economists and private sector representatives have called on the US to renew its tax preferential status for Cambodian exports, as a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) delegation departed for a weeklong business visit to the US, where they will meet with

  • PM takes time to meet, greet Cambodians living in the US

    After landing in the US ahead of the ASEAN-US Special Summit, Prime Minister Hun Sen was received by over 1,000 Cambodian-Americans including political analysts who welcomed him with greetings, fist bumps and selfies. Hun Sen also met with analyst Mak Hoeun, who had allegedly spoken ill

  • Khmer cinema classics back on big screen for free at WB Arena’s outdoor movies series

    On a recent Saturday evening at WB Arena, Bunsong was enjoying a tasty BBQ meal with his family after work on the long tables that had been arranged out in front of the restaurant as they watched a Khmer action movie on a big outdoor

  • PM heads to Washington for ASEAN-US special summit

    Regional and international issues and how to bring the ASEAN-US partnership to another level will be discussed at length as Prime Minister Hun Sen and his ministers arrive in Washington, DC, for a special summit on May 12-13. During the trip, Hun Sen and ASEAN

  • National Assembly refutes EU resolution

    The National Assembly (NA) has hit back at a European Parliament resolution condemning the political and human rights situation in Cambodia, calling it another display of the Parliament’s “double standards”. Key points of the resolution include a warning that the Parliament could exclude the