Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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The Timaru Herald
February 1 2007

Cambodian court agrees to reinvestigate Cleghorn case

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 jailed for 20 years in 2004 for raping five women, but says he was framed by corrupt Cambodian officials who wanted his land.

Mr Cleghorn's daughter Heidi Madeley said from Cambodia 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 the way her father's initial appeal was handled in February 2006.

It was thrown out after bring heard in secret with neither Mr Cleghorn, his lawyer, his witnesses nor New Zealand embassy staff present.

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

The Cambodian Appeals Court has now agreed to change the judge's panel, but a new appeal date is yet to be set.

The new panel would 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," Ms Madeley said.

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

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

"We have to start right from the beginning so it won't happen overnight."

A Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry spokeswoman said British embassy staff attended yesterday's hearing and Mr Cleghorn would continue to receive consular assistance, including prison visits.

 

CASE REOPENED: Graham Cleghorn is to have his conviction for rape reinvestigated.