The trial of a German expatriate accused of sexually abusing five Cambodian boys was delayed at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Wednesday, with the judge briefly taking the bench before stating that he did not have time to preside over the scheduled hearing.
Udo Sabiniewicz, 56, his legal team, and at least two of his alleged victims showed up at the municipal court in the afternoon only for Presiding Judge Heng Sokna to announce that he had a scheduling conflict.
“Today, the court is supposed to continue the hearing, but I would like to inform the lawyers of the plaintiff and accused that due to the short amount of time we have, and also because I have to attend a meeting, I would like to delay the hearing to another day,” the judge said.
“We have only one hour and we need to question witnesses, so I don’t think we can finish today.”
During the first day of his trial last month, Mr. Sabiniewicz was questioned at length about the conditions inside his Phnom Penh sound dubbing studio, which doubles as his home, and where the boys were allegedly abused.
“We had a long discussion about the studio, the fans, the air conditioning, mosquito nets,” he told Judge Sokna through a translator on Wednesday, “so I brought some photos to give you some idea of what the conditions are.”
The judge informed the defendant that he would not accept the images until the next hearing on March 2, and asked whether that would be “OK.”
“No, actually, it’s not OK. Sir, do you realize that I have been arrested, in my own home, with no flagrante situation, no evidence, and police showed me no warrant? And that I have been in prison for more than six months?” he said, turning to the gallery and attempting to engage supporters as his volume and apparent anger grew.
“Six months, seven months, eight months, nine months. OK? No, it’s not OK,” he said.
Judge Sokna then asked Mr. Sabiniewicz to be patient, and rescheduled the hearing for February 18.
Mr. Sabiniewicz claims that the case against him was fabricated after he fired his cleaner and threatened to take police action when her son stole his iPad. He claims the cleaner responded by saying that she had a brother in the police force and would have him arrested if he filed a complaint, which he did.