Woman Convicted of Slashing Girl Appeals 12-Year Sentence

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The Supreme Court in 2022. (Hean Rangsey/VOD)
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A Phnom Penh resident who was convicted of slashing a young girl in 2020 appealed the conviction in the Supreme Court on Monday, as her lawyer questioned the torture charge against the defendant and said she had mental health issues.

Liv Buntheoun was convicted of torture in 2020 for slashing at a 5-year-old girl who had allegedly thrown a stone at the woman’s young son in Pur Senchey district. Buntheoun attacked the young girl with a knife two days after the stone-throwing incident, slashed her face and arm, and was then charged with torture with aggravating circumstances.

The Supreme Court heard an appeal from Buntheoun, 43, who was sentenced to 12 years in prison by the municipal court, a decision upheld by the Appeal Court in December 2021. The defendant was also ordered to pay the girl’s family 200 million riel, or around $50,000.

Defense lawyer Puth Theavy said his client accepted committing the crime but questioned the torture charge against his client, instead suggesting she should have been charged with intentional violence.

He claimed that Buntheoun had been diagnosed with mental health issues, but could not produce medical records when requested by the judges.

Her husband told the court she had gone to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital but did not have her documents.

“Please, excellency president, reject the [prior] decision and return the case back to the Appeal Court to apply the right charge,” said her lawyer, Theavy.

Judge Saly Theara accused the woman’s husband of lying to the court because there would be medical records if she had visited the hospital for a checkup. Supreme Court prosecutor Pen Sarath agreed with the Appeal Court’s decision and asked the judges to uphold the verdict.

Buntheoun, who was crying, said she had acted wrongly and pleaded guilty in a short statement.

Judge Khim Pon will announce the verdict on May 16.

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