Graham Cleghorn….victim of injustice in Cambodia?

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This page last updated July 17 2007

July 13 2007; Legal “wrangling” set to continue
“The legal wrangling and jostling for headlines in the Graham Cleghorn case look set to continue” write Lachlan Forsyth and Sam Rith for the Phnom Penh Post. 

Cleghorn's New Zealand lawyer, Greg King has said "I have to say that we are all totally devastated at the outcome of the appeal and still firmly believe that Graham has not had a fair and proper hearing in to his case." King said Cambodia must ensure that minimum standards of criminal procedure were adhered to, as defined under the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights.

Oung Chanthol, of the CWCC, said the organization was delighted that the decision had been upheld, and said it set a "great precedent."

Dunedin-based Cleghorn supporter Dr Lynley Hood said the serious nature of the allegations carried a powerful emotional impact and profound sense of urgency. Factors similar to the Peter Ellis case in New Zealand can cloud any dispassionate consideration of the facts. As a result, the accused's right to natural justice is often swept aside in the rush to judgment, and allegations tend to be treated as established facts,"

2007-0713 - Phnom Penh Post - Media hype clouds Cleghorn rape appeal

July 12 2007; Radio NZ interviews Ong Chanthol of CWCC
Radio NZ interviews Ong Chanthol, who has been the Director of the Cambodian Women’s Crisis Center. She denies accusations that the CWCC are responsible for setting Graham Cleghorn up, and says that nobody is considering the “suffering of the girls”  Radio NZ, nor Ong Chanthol make reference to an earlier report that says that Ong Chanthol is no longer the Director.

2007-0712 - Radio NZ - Interview with Ong Chanthol (Transcript)

2007-0712 - Radio NZ - Cambodian women's centre says justice done

July 11 2007; Reaction: "A gross miscarriage of justice"
Greg King, NZ lawyer for Graham, called the verdict a death sentence, and it's "very very distresing". He said defence witnesses were not able to be called, and the court only seemed to endorse the original conviction. "This is a gross miscarriage of justice" "I'm absolutely gutted"

Cleghorn's Cambodian lawyer, Ouk Ry said "We feel the judges made the decision too early without taking into account all other evidence and witnesses they did not call." He plans to take the case to the Supreme Court.

Lynley Hood, supporter for Cleghorn, said "here are irregularities in the Cambodian justice system that boggle the mind". The family had pinned a lot of hope on the appeal.  Website founder Brian Robinson says the fight will go on."The story of what has happened needs to be publicised widely"

Graham's family are afraid Graham will die in prison, without receiving a fair trial. His daughter Heidi Madeley said she was devastated. She is now focussing on trying to get someone out to see her Dad, to check on his condition.

Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry says it cannot intervene in the judicial processes of another country if the appeal process was in accordance with Cambodian law. As the process was in accordance with Cambodian law and proper judicial process, New Zealand accepted the outcome, said Grant Traill, second secretary with the New Zealand Embassy in Bangkok

2007-0710 - Sin Chew Daily - (Malaysia) Court Upholds Rape Conviction

2007-0711 - Radio NZ - Morning Report: Graham Cleghorn

2007-0711 - Dominion Post - Fears for Kiwi's life after rape appeal rejected

2007-0711 - NZ Herald - NZ rapist's family fears he could die in Cambodian jail

2007-0711 - Three News - Cambodian court denies Kiwi appeal against rape convictions

2007-0711 - Radio NZ - Lawyers may take case to supreme court

2007-0711 - Waikato Times - Kiwi stays in jail

2007-0711 - Newswire - Cleghorn Lawyers Look To Supreme Court

July 10 2007; Rape sentence is upheld

Graham Cleghorn at Appeal hearing

Graham Cleghorn who was not at today's hearing has lost his appeal. He has repeatedly denied the charges, saying that he was framed by an activist group involved in helping to prosecute sex crime cases.

But presiding judge Thou Mony said the Appeal Court found that “the suspect called the victims into his room to massage him and forced the victims to have sex with him”. “The court found that Cleghorn is guilty of the rape charges ... so the court upholds the verdict,” he said. Judge Mony further said he found no grounds to reopen the investigation, as previously requested by Cleghorn's legal defence

But Ouk Ry, one of Cleghorn's lawyers, called the verdict unfair. He said the judge did not review critical evidence, and that they would make another appeal. Cleghorn can submit his case to Cambodia's Supreme Court.

A CWCC representative said before the verdict that the group would see Cleghorn's release as an injustice, but made no comment after the sentence was upheld. The CWCC has been at the center of controversy over allegations about its methods but has strenuously and consistently denied any wrongdoing and has called Cleghorn's claims "ridiculous."

'The family is in shock and we are completely dismayed that Dad's witnesses were again not allowed to speak,' one of Cleghorn's five daughters, Heidi Madeley, said by email. 'We continue to believe these witnesses hold the key to proving that dubious methods were used to extract testimonies from the other women.

2007-0710 - Stuff - NZer's rape sentence upheld in Cambodia

2007-0710 - Radio NZ - Cambodian Court rejects Cleghorn appeal

2007-0710 - One News - Cleghorn stays in Cambodia jail

2007-0710 - NZ Herald - Kiwi to stay in Cambodian jail

2007-0710 - Newswire - Cambodian Court rejects Cleghorn appeal

2007-0710 - M&C - Cambodian appeal court upholds rape verdict against New Zealander

2007-0710 - International Herald Tribune - Cambodian court upholds rape conviction against NZer

2007-0710 - Herald Sun - Court rejects tour guide's rape appeal

2007-0710 - Radio NZ - Lawyer "gutted" by appeal rejection

2007-0710 - Radio NZ - Supporter seriously concerned for his wellbeing

2007-0710 - Earthtimes - Cambodian appeal court upholds rape verdict against New Zealander

July 4 2007; Appeal reports: Verdict scheduled for July 10
Defence attorney says judge will announce a verdict next week. Nou Tep Thearith said: "The presiding judge, Thou Muny, said the court's decision to uphold or overturn that ruling will be announced next Tuesday.

Cleghorn commented on the appeal: "I think the trial was fair. The judge gave me plenty of chances to speak.  The judges asked good questions of the complainants, so I think it was fair.'' He said he didn't know which way the verdict would go but that the court has heard enough evidence to conclude he is innocent.

Shortly before the court was closed to the public Wednesday, Cleghorn reiterated his allegations to the new appeal Judge Mony and claimed a local women's group, the Cambodian Women's Crisis Center (CWCC), had incited local women to come forward and make claims against him with promises of financial gain

2007-0704 - Malaysia Star - Cambodian court to issue verdict next week

2007-0704 - M&C News - Cambodian court delays verdict in NZer's appeal

2007-0705 - Waikato Times - Rape conviction re-appealed

2007-0705 - Radio Australia - NZ man fights Cambodia rape conviction

2007-0705 - KI Media - Cambodian court delays verdict in New Zealander's appeal

2007-0705 - Radio NZ - Lawyer for Graham Cleghorn says his appeal hearing went well

July 4 2007; Appeal Hearing to be held today
An appeal hearing is scheduled today.  Lawyers hope witnesses will show up at an appeal hearing in Cambodia today to avert yet another trial postponement. The absence of witnesses from past hearings has been blamed for delays and one of Cleghorn's Cambodian lawyer's, Ry Ouk, said he hoped that wouldn't be the case today. "I can't make an assumption, but if all the critical people are not there then it could be delayed," he told Radio New Zealand.

He said speculation that the Cleghorn team needed to pay money to the court before the hearing was not true. Speculation that he had been bribed to quit working for Cleghorn was "ludicrous", he said.

2007-0704 - Radio NZ - Confusion over Cleghorn case

2007-0704 - Radio NZ - Hearing for Graham Cleghorn (Transcript)

2007-0704 - Dominion Post - Lawyers for NZ rapist hoping for smooth appeal hearing

2007-0704 - NZ Herald - Convicted rapist faces Cambodia appeal hearing

April 16 2007; Judge scheduled to review case is being investigated for corruption
Graham Cleghorn's appeal against his rape convictions is stalled amid claims that the Cambodian judge assigned to his case is being investigated for corruption. In February, Cambodian authorities agreed to replace the appeal court judges who were to decide Cleghorn's fate after his lawyer argued that the previous appeal panel would not uphold the appeal to Cambodian law.

2007-0416 - Dominion Post - Corruption case slows appeal

April 5 2007; Chanthol Ong resigns from CWCC

Chanthol Ong, founding member and Director of the Cambodian Women's Crisis Center has resigned. She has an American passport and is on the way to take up residence in the US. An advertisement is placed in the Cambodian Daily for her replacement

2007-0405 - Rudolph Knuchel - Chanthol Ong Leaves the CWCC

February 5 2007; Graham Cleghorn a case "government reluctant to touch"
In a review of New Zealanders in trouble overseas, Press reporter Dan Eaton says: "Another case the Government appears reluctant to touch is that of accused child rapist Graham Cleghorn in Cambodia, despite concerns over corruption in that country's justice system."

2007-0205 - The Press - Trouble overseas

February 1 2007; Appeal Court judges to be replaced; Case to be reinvestigated
Authorities have agreed to reinvestigate the case and replace the appeal court judges deciding Graham's fate.

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. 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

Heidi Madeley 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."

2007-0201 - Dominion Post - Legal boost for jailed Cleghorn

2007-0201 - Timaru Herald - Cambodian court agrees to reinvestigate Cleghorn case

January 31 2007; Appeal Postponed again.
For the third time in two months, the appeal for Graham Cleghorn is postponed. Local media reports say the appeal was postponed after a change of judges was requested by Cleghorn's family. But Cleghorn's lawyer and officials from the Cambodian Women's Crisis Centre (CWCC), which represents the complainants, both said they knew nothing of the motion.

According to Asia Pacific News, Judge Saly Theara told the Appeals Court that Graham Robert Cleghorn's lawyers had asked that fresh judges be appointed, and that he had agreed and tendered a letter of resignation.

Leam Suy, the mother of one teenage rape complainant, said the delays were draining her family's resources and sowing confusion among the victims and their supporters

Cleghorn's lawyer, Nou Tepirith, said: "I haven't received any information from the Appeal Court about the delay or about the date for the next hearing.

But CWCC lawyer Pol Sun said: "Maybe the defence lawyers filed a complaint against the judges -- because they don't have confidence in them.

2007-0131 - Radio Australia - Appeal Postponed

2007-0131 - xtramsn - Another Appeal Postponed For Rape Accused

2007-0131 - Asia-Pacific News - Cambodian appeal of New Zealander delayed again

January 15 2007; Lawyer claims Cleghorn facing human rights abuses.

Greg King

Graham Cleghorn's lawyer, Greg King says he is facing serious human rights abuses. he has voiced his concerns to Prime Minister Helen Clark if she will ask Dame Silvia Cartwright, who is in Cambodia, to investigate. He says prisoners are being beaten, shackled and locked in dark 'punishment rooms'.

2007-0115 - TV3 News - NZ prisoner in Cambodia says he faces human rights abuses

January 5 2007; Cleghorn facing deteriorating conditions
The lawyer for a New Zealand man jailed in Cambodia on sex charges says his client is facing deteriorating conditions in prison. His New Zealand-based lawyer, Greg King, says there is not much Cleghorn can do since he is at the mercy of the Cambodian justice system.

2007-0105 - Radio NZ - Cleghorn facing deteriorating conditions

January 4 2007; Further Appeal delay
An appeal which was to have been heard today was adjourned, because the Cambodian authorities did not transfer Graham from prison to the court. Cleghorn's New Zealand-based lawyer, Greg King, says it is another delay and they are at the mercy of the Cambodian justice system.  Legal representative for Cleghorn, Nou Tepirith, said the prison had been informed of the appeal date in adequate time and he did not understand why the prisoner was not present

Cleghorn's Australian-based daughter, Heidi Madeley, said she was shaking with anger after hearing her father's fourth attempt to have an appeal had been hamstrung by an "incompetent" Cambodian legal system. "They are obviously waiting or hoping my dad will die in there

A New Zealand diplomatic official was present at the scheduled hearing yesterday. CJudge Saly Theara djourned the hearing until January 31 citing lack of a defendant.

Graham Cleghorn, who remains in the capital's Prey Sar prison, has claimed he was framed by powerful interests who want his valuable land at the edge of the Angkor Wat temple complex and has further claimed he is being denied his day in court to prevent him from presenting evidence supporting those claims

Rudolf Knuchel, a Cambodian supporter of Graham, called the delay "negligence on the part of the Cambodian Justice System"

2007-0104 - Radio NZ - Appeal delay for New Zealander jailed in Cambodia

2007-0104 - Rudolph Knuchel - Graham Cleghorn Appeal Postponed!

2007-0104 - Playfuls - Cambodian Court Adjourns New Zealander's Rape Appeal

2007-0105 - Newswire - Further Appeal Delay For Cleghorn

2007-0105 - Dominion Post - Anger as Cleghorn appeal delayed

2007-0105 - Manawatu Standard - Rape appeal cancelled

2007-0105 - Nelson Mail - Kiwi's delayed appeal angers supporters

2007-0105 - Brunei Times - No relief for rape convict

January 2 2007; Appeal date set for 4th January
AN appeal hearing date has been set for the 4th January

2007-0102 - Rudolph Knuchel - Graham Cleghorn Sixth Appeal Date set