Two Months Prison for Driver Who Killed Three

The Appeal Court has reduced the already shortened sentence of the 31-year-old son of a high-ranking official who killed three women in a car accident, ordering him to serve just two months in prison, a court official said Tuesday.

Bun Rattanak, the son of municipal finance department chief Bun Serey, hit and killed Mao Sony, 42, her 18-year-old daughter, Sem Pisey, and an unnamed pedestrian on July 21 after he lost control of his Range Rover. Three other people were injured before the vehicle came to a stop.

In August, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court initially sentenced Mr. Rattanak to three years in jail on charges of unintentional killing, but said he only had to serve four months prison time. However, his family filed a complaint to the Appeal Court to protest the sentence.

Hean Rith, Appeal Court prosecutor, said the court further reduced Mr. Rattanak’s sentence on Thursday.

“The court reduced punishment for Mr. Rattanak from three years to two years and he only has to serve two months in prison,” Mr. Rith said.

“We [the court] reduced the punishment for him because this is not a crime,” he added.

Keo Chanthy, the husband and father of Mao Sony and Sem Pisey, said he was unhappy with the Appeal Court’s decision, but could not do anything about it since he received $24,000 compensation from Mr. Rattanak’s family a month ago.

“I agreed with this compensation because my wife and daughter have already died and we cannot use magic to bring them back,” Mr. Chanthy said.

It is common practice in Cambodian courts for cases—including serious crimes—to be dropped after a guilty party financially compensates a victim.

Most recently in June, a 23-year-old medical student, Keampisith Manit—who is the daughter of the deputy director of the Kandal provincial health department—was released after her sentence was suspended except for time served in pretrial detention. While driving her Toyota Camry she hit and killed three children after injuring six others in crashes on Norodom Boulevard in March.

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