Court to Re-Probe Chanaiwa’s Attack on Reporters

The Court of Appeal on Friday ruled to reinvestigate the case of disbarred lawyer and former government adviser David Chanaiwa and his nephew, who were sentenced to three and two years in jail, respectively, for attacking journalists following a car crash.

The two were charged with assaulting reporters who arrived on the scene after Prak Ou Fi, 22, Mr. Chanaiwa’s nephew, crashed his car on Monivong Boulevard in March.

Appeal Court presiding Judge Khun Leang Meng said Friday that the case needed to be reinvestigated because the two victims, who withdrew their complaint after the municipal court’s guilty verdict, did not attend the hearing.

“The Appeal Court has decided to reinvestigate this case and we will summon the victims for questioning at the court along with the defendants,” Judge Leang Meng said.

Before Mr. Ou Fi crashed his car on March 19, he and Mr. Chanaiwa had consumed alcohol, they told the municipal court during their initial hearing.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court in June sentenced Mr. Chanaiwa, 40, to three years imprisonment and fined him about $1,500. Mr. Ou Fi was sentenced to two years in jail and ordered to pay a fine of about $1,000.

Yean Sina, an undersecretary of state at the Justice Ministry, was also sentenced in absentia to two years in jail by the municipal court but is still at large.

Hiek Vannoy, Mr. Chanaiwa’s lawyer, said Friday he approved of the reinvestigation.

“The Appeal Court wants to find justice for my clients because the victims did not go to answer questions,” he said.

It is common in Cambodia for the victims of crime to drops charges and withdraw legal complaints in return for cash payments from perpetrators.

Mr. Chanaiwa has had several brushes with the law and has previously spent time in jail.

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