The Supreme Court on Friday rejected the latest appeal by jailed British businessman Gregg Fryett to have his trial for fraud delayed because he failed to file his appeal request within the permitted timeframe.
The 47-year-old has spent the past two years in Prey Sar prison after his failed biofuel company, Sustainable Agro Energy, was charged with using fraudulent documents in acquiring the land it was operating on in Banteay Meanchey province.
Mr. Fryett is also under investigation by the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office for allegedly embezzling money from British investors in his biofuel project here. Three of his partners were convicted in London in December and sent to jail.
His latest appeal for due process follows a complaint in late December, when the Phnom Penh Municipal Court agreed to delay his trial for failing to give him enough notice to arrange a translator.
On Friday, the Supreme Court cited Mr. Fryett’s own failure to follow legal time limits as the basis of its decision to deny him another appeal hearing.
“The Supreme Court has denied a request for cassation made by Thomas Fryett as it was invalid under Article 240 of criminal procedure code for being submitted outside the permitted [15-day] time period,” said Kim Sathavy, one of four Supreme Court judges at the court Friday.
Once again at court without a translator, Mr. Fryett left the courtroom and told reporters he was at a loss as to what had just happened because the decision was delivered in Khmer.
“This is my 23rd month [in jail], which is beyond every legal detention limit in Cambodia,” he said outside the courtroom.
“There is clear doubt over the integrity of the investigation; the cases are clearly very weak or nonexistent. This is just an ongoing abuse of my human rights and, to be honest, I am a little bit surprised at the Supreme Court.”
In October, the Supreme Court postponed hearing an appeal from Mr. Fryett to have a municipal court judge replaced, after he protested that the court had not given him the minimum legal notice of the hearing date.