Graham Cleghorn, the 59-year-old New Zealander serving 20 years in prison for raping five Cambodian women, will have his Appeal Court hearing reheard, Minister of Justice Ang Vong Vathana said on Friday.
Ang Vong Vathana said the court would rehear Cleghorn’s case as the defendant was not informed that the Appeal Court had requested his attendance at the scheduled hearing in January, which proceeded without his presence and found him guilty in absentia.
“I will push the Appeals Court to rehear this case as soon as possible,” the minister said at his office following a meeting with New Zealand Ambassador Peter Rider.
“This case must be retried because [Cleghorn] did not receive notice of his hearing at the Appeal Court,” he said.
The minister denied that the visit from New Zealand’s ambassador, who is based in Bangkok, had pressured him to ensure the Appeal Court reheard the case.
“He just requested a rehearing,” he said.
Rider said he was pleased with the result of the meeting and looked forward to Cleghorn having his day in court and presenting his side of the story to the Appeal Court judges.
Cleghorn, who was jailed in 2004 for the rape of five women, is currently detained in Prey Sar prison and is in good health, the ambassador added.
Defense laywer Dy Borima said his client was not guilty of the rape charges and was “framed” by local authorities and his alleged victims.