Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday convicted disgraced former monk Net Khai of producing and distributing pornography, sentencing him to one year in prison and ordering him to pay around $10,000 to a 23-year-old victim he allegedly filmed naked while she bathed in holy water at his pagoda.
Judge Kim Dany also handed down a court fine of around $500 to Net Khai, 37, who is accused of filming more than 600 women naked. He still faces similar charges brought against him due to complaints from three other victims.
Chea Hey, lawyer for Net Khai, said Friday by telephone that the prison sentence given to his client, as well as the fines and compensation, did not fit the crime.
“I think that the decision of the judge does not give justice to my client because my client confessed everything during questioning,” he said, adding that he will appeal the verdict.
Mr Hey said that the court was wrong to charge his client with distributing pornography, because Mr Khai lost the mobile telephone that he used to film the women before the videos were released to the public.
“The decision of the judge is very serious for my client and the court ought to reduce his punishment because he did not hide from the case,” he said.
The victim’s lawyer, Nou Navy, said that she felt the sentencing was appropriate.
“I can accept the decision of the judge…because I think that it is a high punishment based on the anti-human trafficking law,” she said.
Ms Navy called on other victims that the monk had filmed to file complaints with the court.
“The case is about the honor of women,” she said.
Deputy prosecutor Plang Sophal said that if Net Khai was unhappy with the verdict he could appeal against it with the Court of Appeal, before declining to comment further.