Phnom Penh Municipal Court yesterday tried two men in separate cases of child rape that allegedly occurred in 2009 and 2010.
Mom Ngorl, 20, was accused of raping a 7-year-old girl in 2009 in Meanchey district’s Prek Pra commune. During the trial, the court clerk read out a 2010 hospital certificate that declared the suspect mentally incompetent.
Deputy prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth said the declaration of incompetence meant Mr Ngorl’s testimony could not be used in court and constituted evidence of his innocence.
“If someone had mental illness before they committed the crime, they are innocent,” said Mr Chanpiseth.
Defense lawyer Cheng Penghap said: “I request the judges please decide to acquit my client because he is a mentally ill man.”
Mr Penghap also said the victim had not produced medical evidence proving a rape had occurred, and complainants had not participated properly in the hearing.
The case was originally tried last year, but Mr Penghap requested a reinvestigation after his client’s mental illness became apparent.
The victim’s lawyer, Mey Usaphea, said that despite the declaration of mental incompetence, the rape did occur. “I request the judges please punish the suspect by the law,” said Ms Usaphea.
In a separate case, Em Sokha, 28, was tried in a closed hearing on charges of raping a 5-year-old girl in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district in 2010.
The girl was also represented by Ms Usaphea, who said Mr Sokha had confessed to the rape. According to Ms Usaphea, the suspect told the court that he asked his mother for money for a prostitute, but his mother had none. He then took the victim to have sex with her.
Ms Usaphea said the victim’s mother did not demand compensation because her family and Mr Sokha’s family were neighbors, and Mr Sokha’s family is very poor.
Deputy prosecutor Meas Chanpiseth said: “I still keep the [rape] charge…and I request the judges to punish the suspect…by the law.”
The court delayed announcing verdicts in the cases until May 26.