A former police officer convicted last year of the brutal rape and murder of his 20-year-old girlfriend lost a bid on Tuesday to overturn his life sentence.
Hong Kalidin, then a 27-year-old police cadet, was arrested in October 2014 after police officers found the bruised body of his girlfriend, Song Davin, a first-year university student studying accounting, floating in the Tonle Sap river.
Hong Kalidin, left, is escorted by a police officer into the Phnom Penh Appeal Court on Tuesday. (Emil Kastrup/The Cambodia Daily)Mr. Kalidin, who denied the accusations, was convicted of murder accompanied by torture, cruelty or rape. He was sentenced in August last year to life in prison and ordered to pay 20 million riel, or about $5,000, in compensation to Song Davin’s family.
In dismissing the appeal, which the Appeal Court had considered during a January 24 hearing, Presiding Judge Plang Samnang said the court agreed with the Phnom Penh Municipal Court’s verdict.
Touch Tharith, a court spokesman, said: “The evidence, along with the reports submitted by police, were sufficient according to the law.”
Sy Tuy, 54, Song Davin’s mother, said she was happy with the judge’s ruling. “It is the correct decision and he gave me justice,” she said, though she added that she was not satisfied with the amount of compensation.
Last year, Ms. Tuy said that even $100,000 would not be enough as she “loved my daughter with all my heart.”
The family’s lawyer, Mon Keosivin, said he would appeal the sum.
Mr. Kalidin maintained that he dropped off Song Davin at a supermarket near the riverside on October 5 after spending the day and previous night together, and never saw her again. Mr. Keosivin, the lawyer, argued that Mr. Kalidin had committed an elaborate crime, destroyed evidence and left police no clues.
On Tuesday, Mr. Kalidin’s lawyer, Puth Dimong, called the Appeal Court decision an “injustice for my client” and said he would appeal to the Supreme Court.
During the January hearing, Mr. Dimong had argued that sperm and DNA found on Song Davin’s body did not belong to his client.
A witness had testified at the trial that Song Davin was spotted in a nightclub in Russei Keo district on the evening of October 5, though the testimony was called into question when he incorrectly identified a photograph of another woman as Song Davin.
sony@cambodiadaily.com
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