The Appeal Court on Thursday upheld a child sex abuse conviction against Russian businessman Alexander Trofimov, but reduced his prison sentence from 13 to 6 years in prison, according to a court official.
The municipal court found Trofimov, 41, executive director of the Koh Puos Investment group, guilty of debauchery in March for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl.
The Appeal Court heard Trofimov’s case in absentia on Oct 2, and ruled Thursday that under the country’s new anti-human trafficking law, he should now receive a lighter sentence, Appeal Court Judge Samreth Sophal said by telephone.
“The new law’s punishment is lighter than the old one,” Samreth Sophal said.
The Appeal Court also upheld the municipal court’s decision against Cambodian Phal Vannara, who was found guilty in March of procuring the under-aged girl for Trofimov, Samreth Sophal said.
However, as with Trofimov, the court reduced Phal Vannara’s sentence from 11 years in prison to six, he added.
Samreth Sophal said he also ordered both men to pay a total $100,000 in compensation to the victim, but he did not specify how much each man must pay.
Trofimov is currently being held in pre-trial detention at Sihanoukville municipal prison as he is scheduled to be tried this Monday for allegedly sexually abusing 18 other girls, Trofimov’s lawyer So Dara said by telephone Thursday.
“The client is in [Sihanoukville] and I am just wondering why the Appeal Court had rushed to hear the case,” he said, adding that he was not informed of the Appeal Court hearing.
Trofimov’s trial at the Sihanoukville Municipal Court was originally to he held on Sept 23, but the court postponed the trial after his previous lawyer quit due to a sore throat.
Samleang Seila, country director for anti-pedophile NGO Action Pour les Enfants, said he was disappointed by the Appeal Court’s decision to lighten Trofimov and Phal Vannara’s jail terms.
“It’s the law. We can’t do anything,” he said, adding that he was concerned by the precedent set in overturning convictions to bring them in line with a new law.