sihanoukville – The Sihanoukville Municipal Court is set Thursday to try in absentia a deceased Frenchman, Pierre Guynot, who police said died about a year ago in Phnom Penh.
According to court documents viewed Monday, Guynot was charged Feb 19, 2004, with sexually abusing nine children, and is set to stand trial in absentia Feb 15.
Sok Soeun, the court’s deputy director and presiding judge on the case, confirmed Tuesday that Guynot was set to be tried on the sexual abuse charges, but added that he did not recollect details of the case.
But municipal anti-human trafficking police chief Be Sivanna said that Guynot had died of heart failure about a year ago in Phnom Penh’s Calmette Hospital.
“He died of a heart problem—everyone knows,” he said, adding that since Guynot is already dead, the court case would be dismissed.
Guynot had previously been tried for a host of sexual abuse-related crimes, including debauchery committed against young boys in 2002, but was acquitted by the Sihanoukville court in a decision that drew outrage from rights organizations.
On Monday, the court also delayed the trial in absentia of German national Lars Gellner, 33, who was charged with debauchery in 2005.
Sok Soeun, who is also presiding over that case, said the trial was being delayed to an unspecified date next week because the court-appointed defense attorney had not yet reviewed the case.
Gellner, who was never arrested for allegedly molesting six boys between the ages of 10 to 13, fled in 2005, he said.
Be Sivanna said that police attempted to exercise an arrest warrant for Gellner issued by the court in 2005, but the suspect had already fled the municipality.