Phnom Penh, Cambodia – Today, the Appeal Court’s Presiding Judge released a decision slashing British child sex abuser’s jail term from 8 to 5 years; the deportation order was upheld. In April 2015, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court sentenced Michael Jones, 55, to 8 years in prison for purchasing child prostitution and committing indecent acts against four girls aged 7 to 11 years.
APLE began looking into Jones’ behaviour immediately after an investigator was tipped off about his interactions with young kids that arose suspicion in 2013. The investigator witnessed him take a girl into a quiet place and prompted the police. However, Jones was only arrested in June 2014, when his victims made statements about the abuse.
Jones’ victims have been looked after by a specialised aftercare service and legally represented throughout the court process by APLE. “The successful conviction of Jones has a significant impact on the girls’ rehabilitation,” said Sophorn Him, Social Work Manager at APLE.
“I welcome the decision of the court to uphold the order that Jones will be mandatorily deported at the end of his sentence, which reduces the likelihood of him reoffending in Cambodia,” said Vando Khoem, Deputy Director of Field Operation at APLE.
According to research conducted by APLE in 2015, titled “Should Convicted Foreign Child Sex Offender Be Deported from Cambodia?”, 26 out of 115 convicted foreign child sex offenders had at least one previous conviction versus 17 offenders who did not, while the criminal history of 72 is unknown.
Samleang Seila, the Executive Director of APLE, said after the Appeal Court decision that: “APLE maintains its strong stance of mandatory deportation in all child abuse cases perpetrated by foreign nationals in Cambodia.”