Asia-Pacific

Australian James Ricketson's trial delayed until after Cambodian election

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Australian filmmaker James Ricketson has been granted a one month delay in his espionage trial in Cambodia.

James Ricketson has told a Cambodian court he can't prepare a defence on spying claims because no prosecution evidence has been produced. 

A bench of three judges has granted Australian filmmaker James Ricketson a one month delay in his espionage trial so he can prepare his defence, after prosecutors failed to produce 1600 pages of evidence.

"I haven't been presented with any evidence at all," Ricketson, dressed in orange prison overalls and looking tired, told the Phnom Penh court on Monday.

"I can't form a defence unless I am presented with all the evidence by the prosecutors and I still haven't been presented with any at all."

Ricketson, 69, was taken into custody in June, 2017, after flying a drone over a political rally in the capital.

Prosecutors say they intend to charge him with espionage after he was linked to the opposition Cambodian National Rescue Party (CNRP).

The CNRP has been dissolved, and its leader charged with treason ahead of elections due on July 29. Ricketson has also been critical of Prime Minister Hun Sen.

In court last month, Ricketson said he was told he would face charges of espionage under Article 446 of the Cambodian penal code but he had not been served with an indictment.

Speaking outside the court, Ricketson's new lawyer Kong Sam Onn added: "I need time to prepare. He's only been served with partial documents."

Ricketson denies the charges but admits to flying a drone without a permit. Last week he sent a letter to Hun Sen apologising for "any disrespectful comments" he had made regarding his leadership.

"I now realise that my statements I have made in the press and other media are disruptive and ill-informed. These statements were made from a place of foreign naivety and ignorance about the complexities and difficulties of governing Cambodia," he wrote.

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