Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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Dominion Post
July 4 2007; 09:12

Lawyers for NZ rapist hoping for smooth appeal hearing

In jail:: Former Wellingtonian Graham Cleghorn, 60, is hoping to appeal his conviction for raping five young women in Cambodia.


Lawyers for convicted New Zealand rapist Graham Cleghorn hope witnesses will show up at an appeal hearing in Cambodia today to avert yet another trial postponement.

Cleghorn, 60, formerly from Wellington, was sentenced in 2004 to 20 years in prison for raping five young women in Siem Reap, 314km northwest of Phnom Penh.

He has maintained his innocence but over the past couple of years appeal attempts have been postponed while allegations of lies and corruption have been passed between victims and Cleghorn supporters.

The last appeal hearing was due to take place more than five months ago.

The absence of witnesses from past hearings has been blamed for delays and one of Cleghorn's Cambodian lawyer's, Ry Ouk, said he hoped that wouldn't be the case today.

"I can't make an assumption, but if all the critical people are not there then it could be delayed," he told Radio New Zealand.

He said speculation that the Cleghorn team needed to pay money to the court before the hearing was not true.

Speculation that he had been bribed to quit working for Cleghorn was "ludicrous", he said.

Leam Suy, the mother of one teenage rape complainant, said months ago the delays were draining her family's resources and sowing confusion among the victims and their supporters.

"Even though the delays have happened again and again we will continue to come to the court. We will come until a judge says in front of all of us what's wrong and what's right," she said.

Cleghorn supporters have said in the past the Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre bribed the girls to make the rape complaints.

Mr Ouk said Cleghorn appeared to be fit and well in jail and that the case due to be heard today was strong.