Phnom Penh, Cambodia – In response to the article posted in the Cambodia Daily on 15 September 2015 on page 6, entitled: “Convicted Rapist Insists Retrial Will Prove His Innocence,” APLE would like to clarify some critical points in the case of David Fletcher.
Everyone has the right to a fair trial, no matter how horrific the crimes that he or she has committed are. In the case of Mr. Fletcher, this is no different. APLE, a child protection organization, therefore fully supports the court’s efforts to examine whether or not Mr. Fletcher has received a fair trial and whether or not a re-trial needs to take place.
In 2009, APLE started an investigation into Mr. Fletcher after he was seen behaving suspiciously towards children. A full investigation was conducted and the report of that investigation was handed over to the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Police. In 2010, the police decided to interview two girls who had been closely involved with Mr. Fletcher. During these interviews, one girl testified that Mr. Fletcher had raped her twice.
As a result of the testimony made by the victim and a complaint filed by her mother, APLE offered legal representation to the victim. Mr. Fletcher, however, had already left the country and was in Thailand at that time. He was arrested and detained in Thailand, but it would take another three years before he would be extradited to Cambodia. In 2011, Mr. Fletcher was tried in absentia in Cambodia. The judge in this case found Mr. Fletcher guilty of rape and sentenced him to ten years imprisonment.
APLE has fully supported the victim to pursue her case in court after receiving the request for legal representation. It is, however, the police who independently investigated this case after receiving a report from APLE and the court who made the decision that Fletcher indeed committed this crime and who sentenced him to ten years imprisonment.
In the Cambodia Daily article of 15 September 2015, however, a claim is made that APLE knew that Mr. Fletcher did not rape the victim. An additional claim is made that the victim and her mother have recanted their statement and said that APLE had promised them USD 5000 in compensation if they would make the rape claim. APLE has never seen or received any evidence that changed its opinion about the girl’s victimisation, nor has the victim ever recanted her statement to APLE.
The appeal hearing on 14 September 2015 did not deal with the matter of fact in this case; instead, it dealt with the matter of law regarding whether Mr. Fletcher was given a fair opportunity to appeal in his case. As far as information available to APLE suggests, he has been given this opportunity. Due to this, APLE would like to close the case so that the victim can emotionally heal and move on with her life. However, if evidence exists that Mr. Fletcher was not given a fair opportunity to appeal in his case, APLE fully supports that Mr. Fletcher would be granted a re-trial.
As yesterday’s hearing was focused on procedural matters, APLE’s lawyer, Ms. Sony, declined to answer questions relating to the facts and evidence in the case against Mr. Fletcher. This is an agreement she made with the leading lawyer of the case.
To this end, we would like to request the editor of the Cambodia Daily to publish our clarification in the next publication to avoid any confusion to the public about APLE’s stance and role in this case.