Graham CleghornÖ.victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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Radio New Zealand
July 4 2007; 07:33

Hearing for Graham Cleghorn

Geoff Robinson†††††† The Cambodian lawyer for the incarcerated New Zealander, Graham Cleghorn, hopes a hearing later today will clear his clientís name. Mr Cleghorn was convicted of raping five girls while they worked for him in his Cambodian home in 2004. A previous appeal hearing was abandoned after accusations of corruption, and key witnesses failed to appear. Confusion still surrounds todayís hearing in front of a different set of judges of the Cambodian Court of Appeal, with Cleghornís New Zealand lawyer Greg King concerned that the five girls have not been summoned. But Mr Cleghornís Cambodian lawyer Ry Ouk told me last night that he expected the witnesses to be there.


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† We understand that, thatís the plan that we like to see. Hopefully they all going to be there. Previously not all of them were there.


Geoff Robinson: †††† Yes, and that was the problem wasnít it. That meant that the trial had to be delayed. So if they donít all turn up, will the delay occur again?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† I cannot make an assumption. You see if not all critical persons are there, then could be delayed.


Geoff Robinson:††††† I understand the previous court was accused of corruption, and thereís some suggestion that in fact that this court again - you have been told to pay some money to the court before the hearing. Is that correct?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† No that is not correct. I think you cannot touch[?] the system like that, there must be miscommunication there.


Geoff Robinson: †††† So nobody has said youíve got to pay money into the court before the case goes ahead?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† No, not.


Geoff Robinson: †††† Itís I understand before a new judge?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† Yes, thatís correct - a new panel of judges.


Geoff Robinson: †††† How important is that?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† We had requested a new panel of judges to hear the case, so itís important that this new panel of judges sit on the evidence.


Geoff Robinson: †††† How long have you been working for Mr Cleghorn?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† Basically a year, in this case.


Geoff Robinson: †††† Thatís quite a long time will you stick with him through to the end?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† Yes of course. There are three lawyers already gone on this case.


Geoff Robinson: †††† There are suggestions in fact that you are on the verge of quitting. Indeed Iíve seen one suggestion, and forgive me for asking this, that youíve been bribed to not help Mr Cleghorn. Is that correct?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† Thatís ludicrous. Thatís terrible. I only answer to my client. I cannot be bribed by anyone.


Geoff Robinson: †††† Will there be a Government representative at the trial?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† We have been told that heís going to be there. Yes.


Geoff Robinson: †††† And are you expecting the entire case to be heard tomorrow, or is it a procedural hearing?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† We expect, depending of whatever happens, we expect the proceeding to go ahead. Yes.


Geoff Robinson: †††† Can you tell me what sort of physical condition Mr Cleghorn is in? Is he fit?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† Heís fit, yes. I went to see him in prison a couple of days ago. Heís fit and well.


Geoff Robinson: †††† Because weíve been told that he was so unfit that in fact he had to pull a couple of his own teeth out. Is that correct?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† Well, teeth pulled out. I donít know whether thatís unfit or not.


Geoff Robinson: †††† Does your client have a strong case?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† Yes, our client has a strong case.


Geoff Robinson: †††† Do you think heíll get off?


Ry Ouk: ††††††††††††††††† I hope he get off.


Geoff Robinson: †††† Graham Cleghornís Cambodian lawyer, Ry Ouk, speaking from Phnom Penh last evening.