A retired Australian teacher is appealing his conviction in Cambodia for indecent assault against minors after the prosecution also said it would appeal the verdict and the leniency of his sentence.
Garry Mulroy was in May convicted of assaulting six boys aged between 11 and 14 but was acquitted of the more serious charge of child prostitution, which carries a potential 15-year jail term.
The court in northwest Siem Reap sentenced the former Catholic teacher from Lismore to two years behind bars. Including time already served, he was to be released in July 2021.
Mulroy’s lawyer So Mosseny said because of the prosecution’s appeal, his client could now be held for up to 15 years or until the appeal had been heard.
He said prosecutors were appealing the not guilty verdict for child prostitution and the sentence for indecent assault, while his client had also finalised paperwork for his own appeal against his conviction for indecent assault.
“The judges did not accept all the testimony, not from the children, the parents, Garry and all the documents presented in court. They only accepted as evidence what was presented by the police,” he told AAP.
Mulroy’s case has generated widespread interest after an independent report commissioned by the defence found the charges were a bid by police and NGOs to extort money.
He had previously worked for an orphanage but left amid arguments over finances and treatment of the children. He then established his own school, Education House, amid rivalries among foreign-run NGOS.
The report also says police interviews with the boys were not conducted with adult supervision and made “under extreme duress, intimidation and extortion” to secure charges against Mulroy.
Copies of the report were sent to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison.
The more serious charge of child prostitution was dropped after Action Pour Les Enfants withdrew legal representation despite making the initial accusations.
Police Chief Colonel Chea Heng of the Anti-Human Trafficking and Juvenile Protection Division in Siem Reap also failed to attend the hearings.
So Mosseny said both appeals would be held together and heard in the provincial city of Battambang. No court dates have been set.
Australian Associated Press Via NEWCASTLE HERALD