The Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Tuesday adjourned the trial of a police officer accused of murdering his girlfriend pending further investigation, including additional questioning of a witness who said he saw the victim dancing in a club soon after the accused claims he last saw her.
Hong Kalidin, 27, was arrested on October 14 last year after police discovered the body of Song Davin, 20, a first-year accounting student at Phnom Penh’s Vanda Institute, on October 7 along the riverbank in Chroy Changva district. Mr. Kalidin stands charged with murder accompanied by torture and cruelty.
He admitted on the first day of his trial in October to picking up Song Davin in the early hours of October 4, but claimed he dropped her off at the Pencil Supermarket near Phnom Penh’s riverside at about 5 p.m. on October 5 and never saw her again.
On the second day of the trial on Tuesday, Puth Dimong, a lawyer for Mr. Kalidin, said his client was innocent, citing a statement from a man named You Maliky.
According to a statement read out by a court clerk on Tuesday, Mr. Maliky told police that he came to look at the corpse of the victim after she was pulled from the river and said he had seen her at the Mekong nightclub in Russei Keo district a few hours after Mr. Kalidin claimed he dropped her off.
“So, at 8:30 p.m., Song Davin danced in the Mekong nightclub and at 8 p.m. my client was at Psar Doem Thkov. This is the day that my client dropped Song Davin off, and this is a point that judges should consider,” Mr. Dimong said.
Presiding Judge Veng Hourt ruled that the case required further investigation including questioning of Mr. Maliky.
Speaking to reporters at the court, Deth Sreang, Song Davin’s uncle, cast doubt on the notion that Mr. Maliky could have recognized his niece after she was pulled from the water.
“I, her uncle, and her father almost couldn’t recognize her when we first saw her body, so how can the witness named Maliky quickly recognize her?”