Opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua has asked the Justice Ministry to investigate a prosecutor who did not charge a Forestry Administration official who killed a motorist with his SUV in Siem Reap province while driving drunk.
Ms. Sochua sent the letter, dated September 15, through National Assembly President Heng Samrin, who signed off on it on Friday. The request is now with Prime Minister Hun Sen’s cabinet.
Opposition lawmaker Mu Sochua hands a letter to an official outside the Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh earlier this month. (Siv Channa/The Cambodia Daily)Yan Sideth, 48, a division chief for the Forestry Administration in Siem Reap province, was behind the wheel of his Lexus SUV on the night of September 4 when he rear-ended the motorbike of Chan Reaksmey, 41, and dragged him underneath his vehicle for several meters.
Too drunk to answer questions the next day, Mr. Sideth was sent to the Siem Reap Provincial Court the day after, where prosecutor Keut Sovannareth released him without charges, arguing the official had not intended to kill the victim.
In her letter to Justice Minister Ang Vong Vathana, Ms. Sochua says Mr. Sovannareth was wrong not to prosecute the official.
“I believe that the decision to release and not charge by prosecutor Keut Sovannareth was not correct,” the letter says. “So I suggest an investigation into irregularities in this case.”
Justice Ministry spokesman Chin Malin declined to comment, as did Mr. Sovannareth.
Chan Reaksmey’s family could not be reached for comment. But the chief of Prasat Bakorng district’s Kandek commune, Kham Loeu, said the family had accepted about $6,000 in compensation from Mr. Sideth, a little less than the $7,000 they had requested.
Victims and their families often agree not to press charges in exchange for compensation rather than take their chances with the country’s corrupt courts and possibly end up with nothing. However, in criminal cases, it is entirely up to the court whether to press charges.
Soon after Mr. Sideth was released, court spokesman Ream Chanmony said Chan Reaksmey was actually at fault for his own death for having driven his motorbike in front of the speeding SUV.
sokhean@cambodiadaily.com
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