The land of heroes
Our heroes
Our land
Cambodia Kingdom

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Divorce spark for killing, court told

A CLAIRVOYANT accused of murdering his lawyer after the pair fell out over a divorce settlement posted himself bullets from Cambodia before the shooting, a court has heard.

Lawyer David Robinson, 56, was shot dead outside his Fairfield office on the night of July 10, 2006.

John Thomas Glascott, 44, of Kealba, has pleaded not guilty to murdering the father of three.

The Supreme Court heard Mr Glascott blamed Mr Robinson, his long-time lawyer, for losing his home in a divorce settlement.

Prosecutor Geoff Horgan, SC, said Mr Glascott's tension and anxiety over his marital affairs were at the heart of the alleged murder.

"This and other issues had festered in his mind," Mr Horgan told the jury.

The court heard Mr Glascott was unemployed at the time but did work from home as a clairvoyant for his business, Psychic Wisdom.

Mr Horgan said Mr Glascott made two trips to Cambodia in February and May of 2006, allegedly to buy a gun and ammunition.

The first time Customs searched his hand luggage and found a notebook and internet pages relating to a Tokarev pistol, he said.

A couple of months later, Customs searched his home and allegedly found information about ammunition and firearms on his computer.

The court was told Mr Glascott sent himself four envelopes from a hotel in Phnom Penh in Cambodia, each containing a Tokarev bullet, which were seized by Customs in March that year.

Mr Horgan told the court seven bullets, made for a Tokarev gun, were found at the scene of Mr Robinson's alleged murder. The weapon has never been found.

Mr Robinson was killed by a single bullet wound as he investigated damage to his Station St law office about 8.30pm on July 10.

He had taken his son to the office, near their Alphington home, to print out homework.

They found the front door smashed and the office filled with smoke from smouldering papers.

The jury was told Mr Robinson went to the rear to look around. It was the last time his son saw him alive.

It is alleged Mr Glascott confronted Mr Robinson at the back of the office and there was arguing and shouting.

Mr Horgan said a witness would give evidence he saw two men struggling in the rear laneway, followed by shots.

Mr Robinson bled to death before paramedics arrived. His skull was also fractured.

The court heard Mr Robinson had drawn up a divorce agreement and given evidence at Mr Glascott's divorce hearing. But a court overturned the agreement and awarded in favour of his ex-wife, Tina.

Defence barrister Russell Sarah said Mr Glascott was not involved in the killing, and identification was an issue.

Mr Sarah said there was no evidence Mr Glascott confronted Mr Robinson.

The trial before Justice Philip Cummins continues.

Read more!

Cambodia arrests man for British deminer murder

PHNOM PENH (Reuters) - Cambodia has arrested and charged a former Khmer Rouge soldier in connection with the murder of a British de-miner more than a decade ago, a judge said on Wednesday.

Sin Dorn, 52, was formally charged on Tuesday with the abduction and premeditated murder of Christopher Howes of UK-based charity Mines Advisory Group in the northern province of Siem Reap in 1996. His Cambodian translator was also killed.

"The authorities were searching for him for several years, but couldn't find him. We finally arrested him and have thrown him in jail," investigating Judge Ke Sakhan told Reuters.

Sin Dorn is the fourth Khmer Rouge soldier to be arrested in connection with the murder. He was found in the north of the country near the former Khmer Rouge stronghold of Along Veng where Pol Pot died.

Howes's death at the hand's of Pol Pot's ultra-Maoist guerrillas shocked most people in the war-scarred southeast Asian nation, where a street in the capital has since been named in his honour.

(Reporting by Ek Madra: Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)

Read more!

Editorial: Unworkable cartel

The recent bid by Thailand and Cambodia to revive the long-dormant proposal for creating an Opec-like cartel of five rice-exporting countries of South-east Asia is both ill-timed and ill-advised; indeed, prima facie, the idea is unworkable. This balloon was floated first by Thailand in 2001, subsequently by Cambodia in 2005, and is supported by Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar.

Thailand is the world's largest rice exporter (with annual exports of 10 million tonnes), with Vietnam not far behind (exporting around 6 million tonnes). Cambodia is a smaller exporter, with exports of around 2 million tonnes, but it can expand paddy cultivation to boost its surplus, if assured attractive prices. Together, these three members of Asean (Association of South-east Asian Nations) account for a sizeable part of total rice exports.

The idea has been floated again at a time when global rice prices are already on the boil, having more than tripled since 2006. Supplies are tight, owing partly to the restrictions on rice exports imposed by several countries, including India, Brazil and Egypt, all of which are keen to build up domestic stockpiles. Any adverse price signals at this stage are bound to add to food inflation. An indication of what could be in store came when the rice import tenders floated by the Philippines and Bangladesh failed to attract any worthwhile bid and had to be scrapped early this week. It is no wonder therefore that the first denouncement of the cartelisation move came from none other than a key Asean member, the Philippines, which is a large rice importer. The Asian Development Bank too has been quick to oppose it, maintaining that it would not be good for either exporters or importers.

Going beyond the immediate interests of rice-exporters and -importers, the truth is that a successful rice cartel is almost impossible to visualise. Even if the alliance partners agree on a price band, it will be difficult for them to control production/supply — which is a key requirement for a successful cartel. This is especially so because some of these countries grow three or four crops of paddy in a year and, unlike oil wells, which can be switched on and off, a paddy harvest cannot be so regulated. Stocking up, as an option, could be expensive, especially if prices do not stay high. Nor can farmers be coerced into increasing or reducing rice acreage. The key element is that buyers have an option to go elsewhere, as the other rice-exporting countries are free to sell at prices of their choosing. Indeed, buyers could switch to alternative cereals too.

Regardless of whether a rice cartel is born or not, the alarm bells set off by the Thai attempt may spur fresh efforts to salvage the Doha round of trade talks, stalled for some years now because of disagreement over the liberalisation of agricultural trade. When the rice price manipulation proposal is viewed against the backdrop of the global food crisis, which has resulted in food riots in several countries, the need for free (unhindered) and fair (undistorted) trade in food and other farm products under a globally agreed and legally-enforceable regime will be seen to be all the more urgent.

Read more!