Court of Appeal takes a second look at drug case

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Suspect sentenced to 30 years in this 2016 drug haul. Photo supplied

The Court of Appeal on Tuesday reheard a drug case after the Supreme Court sent it back with instructions to examine the convictions of two defendants sentenced to 30 and 20 years in prison.

Presiding Judge Plang Samnang read the record in front of the accused in the courtroom on Tuesday. They are Sen Dayusa and Yong Chan Huyyong, a 38-year-old Vietnamese man.

“The Supreme Court ordered the Court of Appeal to review the evidence because Huyyong accused Dayusa of selling drugs but there is no evidence to support that claim,” the judge said.

Dayusa told the Court of Appeal that he knew Huyyong because he bought drugs from him. “I admit that I used drugs but did not participate in drug production or sales,” Dayusa said.

Separately, Huyyong told the same court that Dayusa did not conspire with him in the drug case but he (Huyyong) was angry with Dayusa for naming him to the police.

Prosecutor Pen Sarath said that since the case was handed down from the Supreme Court, he leaves it to the panel of five judges to decide.

Dayusa’s lawyer Nou Chantha said his client was only using drugs he bought from Huyyong. “So I ask the court to release him,” he said.

According to the Court of Appeal record, Russey Keo district police arrested Dayusa on December 4, 2016, at around 3am and confiscated two packages of drugs while he was riding a motorbike along the street.

Dayusa told police the two packages of methamphetamine were bought from Huyyong. So the police arrested Huyyong in Chamroeun Phal 1 village, Meanchey district’s Boeung Tompun commune, Phnom Penh.

Police found a large store of drugs, including 14 bottles of methanol, two large packages of white powder, three bags of pills, methamphetamine, a drug scale and some drug smoking pipes.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced the men to 30 years in June 2017.

The defendants appealed. The Court of Appeal upheld the verdicts but reduced Dayusa’s sentence from 30 years to 20.

Presiding Judge Plang Samnang said a ruling will be announced on October 19.