Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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The Dominion Post
February 1 2007

Legal boost for jailed Cleghorn
by Paul Easton

A New Zealander jailed in Cambodia on rape charges has received a boost with authorities agreeing to reinvestigate his case and replace the appeal court judges deciding his fate.

Graham Cleghorn, 60, formerly of Wellington, was imprisoned for 20 years in 2004 for raping five women, but says he was framed by corrupt Cambodian officials who wanted his land.

His daughter, Heidi Madeley, said her father's lawyers applied to have the panel of appeal court judges removed after they repeatedly failed to hold his appeal to the standards of Cambodian law.

Her father has now been jailed for more than 40 months without a chance to appeal his case.

Ms Madeley said the most serious breach was during his initial appeal in February 2006. It was thrown out after being heard in secret with neither Mr Cleghorn, his lawyer nor New Zealand embassy staff present.

Two further appeals were aborted over the next 11 months; the first after none of his accusers showed up in court, the second when officials failed to deliver him to court.

The Cambodian Appeals Court has now agreed to change the judges' panel, but a new appeal date has yet to be set. The new panel will take a fresh look at his case, Ms Madeley said.

An appeal hearing in Phnom Penh yesterday was adjourned in light of the decision.

"It's fantastic, it's just amazing, I can't describe how I felt when I heard the news. It's the best thing that's happened so far."

She said the ruling had given her father a lift, and he was also being supported by his three daughters who had all travelled to Cambodia.

"Physically he's not doing so well, but mentally he's a little better."

A Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry spokeswoman said Mr Cleghorn would continue to receive consular help.