Court Arraigns Briton in Debauchery Case

British subject Derek Baston was formally charged with de­bauchery in Phnom Penh Mun­icipal Court, Prosecuting Judge Nget Sareth said Wednesday.

With trembling hands, the 69- year-old Baston held a newspaper tight to his face to shield himself from photographers as he arrived at the courthouse.

He was arrested Sunday in a bro­­thel in Phnom Penh’s Svay Pak red-light district while engaging in sexual acts with an 11-year-old girl, police said.

Svay Pak Police Chief Chea Sambath said the brothel owner managed to escape before an arrest could be made.

Baston muttered, “not guilty,” his only comment, before being led into the judge’s chamber.

“If I can prove the crime, he will spend between 10 and 20 years in prison,” Nget Sareth said. Bas­ton denied the charges during an hour-and-a-half long interview, the prosecutor added.

It will take between four and six months to complete an investigation, the prosecutor said. Baston will remain in custody until then, Nget Sareth said.

Baston arrived in Cambodia in August 1999, the prosecutor said.

He spent one semester teach­ing English literature at Nor­ton University, university officials con­firmed, but was fired for lack of experience.

Foreigner Police Chief Pol Pithey said the girl remains un­der his office’s supervision, but she would be released into the cus­tody of her grandmother, who lives in Kandal province.

Another foreigner, Italian Luigi Falchi, 29, is scheduled for trial to­day in Banteay Meanchey pro­vince court. Falchi was arrested in November for allegedly having sex­ual relations with three boys, aged 10, 11 and 12 in a Poipet guest house.

 

 

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