Ex-TV presenter in legal tussle with tycoon released on bail

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Mean Pich Rita (second from right) walks with her laywers at Correction Centre 2 in Phnom Penh. The former Miss Grand Cambodia contestant was granted bail two days after being put in pre-trial detention. FN

Phnom Penh Municipal Court Investigating Judge Koy Sao has decided to grant bail to Mean Pich Rita – a former TV presenter involved in counter suits with tycoon Heng Sear who holds the honorific Oknha – just two days after she was placed in pre-trial detention.

Oknha Heng Sear has sued Pich Rita for theft with aggravating circumstances while she filed a counter suit against him for attempted rape in Phnom Penh’s Tuol Kork district on May 4. She was placed in pre-trial detention on May 11.

According to the investigating judge’s warrant dated May 13, Pich Rita was to be released on bail immediately but remain under court supervision.

“I, Koy Sao, the deputy chief of Phnom Penh Municipal Court and also the investigating judge ... order the release of [Pich Rita] on bail if she is not under orders for detention for other offences. She is to be placed under court supervision from today [May 13],” the judge wrote.

Pich Rita was charged with theft for allegedly stealing an iPhone from Sear and attacking him with a knife on two occasions causing serious injury, according to the order.

The former Miss Grand Cambodia contestant then immediately lodged a counter-complaint against the tycoon for attempted rape.

She was granted bail after Prime Minister Hun Sen's lawyer group filed a bail request on May 12.

The legal team argued that based on the facts and the evidence, there was reasonable doubt as to Pich Rita’s guilt and that aside from Sear’s allegations there was no actual evidence that Pich Rita had committed the theft as claimed.

“We, the defence lawyers for the charged person, would like to ask that His Excellency release our client on bail,” the lawyers said in their letter to the municipal court.

Municipal court spokesman Kuch Kimlong said on May 13 that the court was now in the process of releasing Pich Rita.