Cleghorn….victim of injustice in
Former aid worker
Graham Cleghorn, 55, was jailed in February 2004 and is being held in
He is serving 20 years for the rape of five teenage girls – a conviction he has said he is innocent of.
Mr Rider met with
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman Helen Tunnah said the decision was made because neither Cleghorn nor his lawyer received advice of an earlier appeal hearing in January, so were not present.
"Mr Rider was tonight (NZT) to meet Mr Cleghorn and his lawyer Dy Borima. He expects to contact Mr Cleghorn's family after that meeting," Ms Tunnah said.
Any decision to lodge an application for a re-hearing rested with Mr Cleghorn and his legal advisers, she said.
Minister Ang Vong Vathana said earlier that the appeal anomaly had arisen due
to confusion in
does not stipulate clearly about the
The Magistracy Council
is headed by King Norodom Sihamoni and, as well as the minister, includes the
chief magistrates from the Appeals and Supreme courts of
In February 2004 Cleghorn was convicted of raping five former female employees in the northern city of Siem Reap and sentenced to 20 years in jail and to pay each woman $US2000 ($NZ3125) compensation.
His appeal against the
charges was thrown out by the
The New Zealand Embassy
Cleghorn, a former tour guide and the owner of prime land on the edge of the Angkor Wat temple complex, has maintained his innocence and claims that his accusers were motivated by offers of compensation by the non-government organisation which supplied their legal representation, Cambodian Women's Crisis Center (CWCC).
CWCC director Chanthol Oung Tuesday strongly denied Cleghorn's claims as "laughable" but said that whether or not the hearing was rescheduled and how it was held was a matter for the court.
In a prison interview last Saturday, Cleghorn appealed to the New Zealand Government to ensure he was granted a fair trial.
Such a trial would require the court to not only ensure he was present but to allow defence witnesses to be heard and for his legal representation to be allowed to cross-examine his accusers, which he said neither the Siem Reap court nor the Appeals Court had so far allowed him to do.