Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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Thanhnien News
June 9 2006

Australians lose appeal in Cambodian sex case

A Cambodian appeals court upheld long jail terms for two Australians Friday despite their young accusers changing their stories of rape and sexual harassment.

Bart Lauwaert would serve the 20-year term imposed originally and Clint Rex Betteridge would serve 10 years if returned to Cambodia for hiring girls as maids then aged between 12 and 14, then abusing them sexually, the presiding judge said.

Lauwert's lawyer said he would now appeal to the Supreme Court.

"After listening to the victims, the appeal court considered the lower court's punishment was right and valid," Presiding Judge Saly Theara said.

But it overturned the lower court ruling that Lauwert had to pay $20,000 to the girls as compensation and Betteridge, who fled to Australia and was jailed there pending an extradition hearing, should pay $8,000.

At last week's appeal, the girls changed their tales and asked the court to dropped the case against the Australians saying that they were told to accuse the men to get money.