Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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The Dominion Post
March 9 2006

Cleghorn may get chance for rehearing

Cambodia's Justice Minister has indicated that New Zealander Graham Cleghorn might get a chance to re-appeal his child rape conviction and 20-year jail sentence.

Ang Vong Vathana said yesterday that he would almost certainly grant a re-appeal if approached by Cleghorn's lawyer. The concession was made just hours before New Zealand's Thailand-based ambassador Peter Rider flew into the capital, Phnom Penh, to further investigate Cleghorn's plight.

The high-level diplomatic intervention was prompted by controversy over Cleghorn's conviction, amid allegations of corruption and an appeal hearing that was held without his knowledge.

The Cambodian Court of Appeal also failed to notify Mr Rider, as ambassador, of the hearing.

Cleghorn says the five girls he was accused of raping were induced to testify against him with US$10,000 bribes offered by Cambodia's Womens Crisis Centre, but this has been denied by the centre's executive director, Oung Chan Thol.

Mr Rider said his purpose in going to Phnom Penh was to ensure Gleghorn was given a chance to put his case. He met Cleghorn's Cambodian lawyer yesterday. Today, he plans to visit Cleghorn in jail and hopes to meet Cambodian officials.

However, the justice minister was unsure whether he could fit Mr Rider into his schedule.

It has also been revealed that another New Zealander is being held in the same prison as Cleghorn, serving a 10-year sentence for having sex with four boys aged 11 to 16. He is Auckland-born Malcolm Anthony Hatfield, 60, who was convicted in 2004.

He also claims he was wrongly imprisoned, saying police tricked him into making a written confession.