Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Two released in foreign pedophile trials

Two released in foreign pedophile trials

Two released in foreign pedophile trials

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two.jpg

Acquitted: Pierre Guynot awaits the verdict.

An Italian national accused of pedophilia offenses in Banteay Meanchey was released

from prison August 1 after the provincial court found there was no evidence of debauchery

against him.

Luigi Falchi, who has spent eight months in jail awaiting trial, was sentenced to

one year in prison for indecent assault, with four months suspended. It is believed

he left the country shortly after the verdict was read.

The judge, Sok Chansereyvuth, found Falchi guilty of the indecent assault of three

boys after the prosecutor changed the charge citing lack of evidence.

"I have not found that he was involved in debauchery," said Judge Chansereyvuth.

"[Falchi] was sentenced under articles 42 and 70 of the Penal Code."

The judge noted that the November 2001 arrest was carried out without a court warrant

and Falchi was not observed having intercourse with the boys. The police arrested

him after the three minors laid a complaint against him.

Chum Sophea, who represented the boys, told the Post his clients were not present

in court. He would not say whether he thought the verdict was fair, but added that

as it was not a civil case no compensation was paid to the boys.

Falchi's was the third case involving alleged foreign pedophiles in two weeks. On

July 16 another Italian, Alain Berrutti, was found guilty of debauchery in Phnom

Penh and sentenced to ten years in jail.

And in Sihanoukville, French citizen Pierre Guynot was released after Judge Huon

Many also found there was insufficient evidence to convict him of debauchery.

Guynot was found guilty of illegal possession of a weapon and was sentenced to six

months in jail, which he spent awaiting trial last year. His 21-year-old foster son,

Ouk Savuth, was sentenced in absentia to three years for illegal confinement of a

boy.

The 45-year-old owner of a go-karting business in Sihanoukville was arrested in May

2001. The judge's ruling dismayed police, human rights workers and the victims' lawyer.

Lawyer Yim Sary complained the judge had rejected the testimony of eight of the nine

boys, who were all between 10 and 15 years old. He also would not consider numerous

pornographic photographs taken by Guynot, as well as the police report.

Sary said the judge had ordered Guynot to pay an $80 fine to the family of the confined

boy, despite the fact that it was his adopted son who was found guilty of that charge.

He said he would appeal the verdict.

"This trial was not fair," Sary said. "The judge listened to Guynot

and to the testimony of the one boy who recanted his complaint. He considered the

rest of the evidence groundless."

Chhrin Vanne, who led the police investigation, said the proceedings of the trial

were unusual, not least because the judge had raised his voice at the victims. Despite

the verdict, he said the case would go to the Supreme Court if necessary.

A French Embassy spokesman said Guynot could now leave the country as there were

no charges outstanding.

And in Phnom Penh a 69-year-old British citizen was accused of debauchery with an

11-year-old girl after he was arrested on July 28 at a Svay Pak brothel.

Derek Baston was formally charged on July 31 at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. He

told waiting reporters he was not guilty, and repeated that to prosecutor Ngeth Sarath

shortly afterwards.

"In his testimony he said he had done nothing wrong with the girl," said

Sarath, "and has never committed any sex crime."

Sarath said he would also question the girl's parents to discern whether they had

sold her into prostitution.

"He said the girl came into his room of her own accord, and the police arrived

to arrest him two minutes later," said Sarath. "I am concerned that the

arrest might have been arranged."

Baston will be held at the municipality's PJ prison while investigating judge Nop

Sophon carries out his enquiries.

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