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Sokha defence team deplore admission of new evidence items

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Kem Sokha waves to his supporters after attending his hearing on Wednesday. Hong Menea

Sokha defence team deplore admission of new evidence items

The defence team of former opposition leader Kem Sokha said they were not happy to see the prosecutor adding evidence, saying it put more pressure on their client.

Sokha’s treason hearing resumed on March 16, following a short delay due to a Covid-19-positive test from a member of the prosecution.

Speaking after the hearing, Ang Udom, one of Sokha’s four defense lawyers, said the hearing focused on two additional items of evidence submitted to the court by the prosecution.

He said his team had requested that the court reject the new evidence, as introducing it at this stage is outside of procedural norms.

The prosecution cannot continually add more evidence as desired, he said.

“When we introduce new evidence, the prosecution insisted that we have a duty to ease the burden on our client, and yet they have now introduced new items to refute the 28 pieces of evidence we have already submitted. Next week the court will rule as to whether the new items will be accepted or rejected,” he said.

Udom also expressed his unhappiness at the latest delay – due to a single positive case among the court officials involved in the hearing. He said a single person testing positive for Covid-19 should not lead to the postponement of a complete hearing.

“Our co-defence team requested that such a delay not happen again, because it is always possible that some people involved in the hearing could test positive. Will we delay the hearing if a single court clerk gets ill?” he said.

Plong Sophal, spokesman for the prosecutor’s office, said the court will resume the hearing on March 23.

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