Thursday, October 15, 2015
# 156 Imagine if David Fletcher had been charged with the removal of Yang Dany's clothes and not with rape?
A recurrent question asked on this blog is whether or not David Fletcher removed Yang Dany’s clothing in 2009.
This is a valid question, given that Yang Dany, whilst insisting she was not raped by Mr Fletcher, has asserted that he did remove her clothes.
Mr Fletcher denies having done so. It’s his word against hers.
Imagine what might have happened if Mr Fletcher had been charged not with rape but with removing Yang Dany’s clothes.
- On 27th June 2010 Mr Fletcher is arrested in Thailand and held, without charge, in a Thai prison.
- 17 days later Mr Fletcher is charged by Cambodian authorities with having removed Yang Dany’s clothing on 15th March 2009, on 22nd March 2009 and on 15th May 2010.
- The charges have been laid by Yang Dany’s mother, Sekun, in July 2010.
- Through the Thai courts, Cambodian authorities seek Mr Fletcher’s extradition to face charges arising from the removal of a 17 year old’s clothing.
Imagine now that there was a court case open to the media and the public, held in accordance with the Cambodian Court of Criminal Procedure. Yang Dany is, after all, 18 years old now!
APLE’s lawyers, representing Yang Dany’s mother, Sekun, must now convince the judges and all present in court that Mr Fletcher’s removal of 17 year old Yang Dany’s clothing was a crime serious enough to warrant extradition.
This is not an easy task given that there are no witnesses to this crime having occurred and no evidence that it occurred. There is only Yang Dany’s statement to the police, made 17 days after Mr Fletcher’s arrest in Thailand.
Yang Dany, now an adult takes the stand and tells her story:
- 15th March 2009. Mr Fletcher removed her clothes in his ‘shop’. She did not mention the incident to her mother.
22nd March 2009. Yang Dany returned to the place where her clothes had been removed a week earlier by Mr Fletcher. He removed her clothes again. She did not tell her mother about this second instance of clothing removal.
May 2010. 14 months later Mr Fletcher again attempted to remove her clothes. His attempt was interrupted by the arrival of her brother.
Yang Dany did not mention this 3rd incident of clothing removal to her mother. Nor did she mention it, or the two previous incidents, to the APLE investigators who kept asking her if she had had sex with David Fletcher.
APLE, CEOP and SISHA had spent 2 years trying to find evidence of sexual misconduct on the part of MrFletcher.
Mr Fletcher’s lawyer, in his cross-examination of Yang Dany, reads out to her a segment from a document entitled:
“Prosecution to Phnom Penh Municipal Trial Court”
Criminal case No. 1551, dated 15th July 2010:
“Up until on unremembered day during June 2010 the police and Aple organization enquired her (Sekun), as well as her daughter YANG DANY about the relationship with her daughter and David John Fletcher, but then, her daughter said nothing, and for about 1 week later, the police and Aple organization enquired again, so that her daughter told that David John Fletcher had (removed her clothes) twice at the shop of David John Fletcher…”
David Fletcher’s lawyer asks Yang Dany how many times APLE had asked her if she had had sex with David Fletcher.
Many times, she replies.
“And what did you tell APLE each time?” asks Mr Fletcher’s lawyer.
“That he was a good man,” replies Yang Dany, “and that I had not had sex with him.”
“And what made you change your mind and tell APLE that Mr Fletcher had three times removed your clothes?” asks Mr Fletcher’s lawyer.
Yang Dany looks nervously to her mother and cannot answer the question.
Mr Fletcher’s lawyer puts it to Yang Dany that the ‘unremembered day’ in June 2010 was, in fact, an ‘unremembered day’ in July – after Mr Fletcher had already been arrested in Thailand. Yang Dany is confused. She cannot remember.
Mr Fletcher’s lawyer jogs Yang Dany’s memory by reading again from the ‘Absolute Request’ court document – in which there are three references to the dates upon which Yang Dany alleged that Mr Fletcher removed her clothing.
The first date reference:
“The prosecution to Phnom Penh Municipal Trial Court received the case from the Department of Anti-Human Trafficking and Minor Protection of the Ministry of Interior, with entry number on 14th July 2010 for legal proceeding.”
The second date reference:
“The answer of the civil plaintiff named KHEANG SOKUN, sex female, age 59, dated 20 July 2010…”
The third date reference:
“The documents in connection with the victim named YANG DANY. The answer of the victim, sex female, age 18, dated 20 July 2010…”
Mr Fletcher’s lawyer points out to the court that Yang Dany clearly did not tell APLE that Mr Fletcher had removed her clothes on an ‘unremembered date’ in June but on an ‘unremembered date’ in July, prior to 14th July.
Mr Fletcher’s lawyer also points out to the court that as of 14th July 2010 Mr Fletcher had already been held in a Thai prison at the request of the Cambodian authorities for 17 days. During those 17 days (or the bulk of them) Yang Dany had stuck to her story that Mr Fletcher had not committed any sexual crimes at all; that he had not removed her clothes once; let alone 3 times.
Mr Fletcher was never charged with an offence in Thailand. He was being held only because Cambodian authorities has asked Thai authorities to do so. For the 17 days of his incarceration in Thailand to far there had been no suggestion that he had removed Yang Dany’s clothes.
Mr Fletcher’s lawyer returns to his questioning of Yang Dany.
“If you did not want Mr Fletcher, whom you described to journalist Andrew Drummond, as your ‘fiance’, to remove your clothes on 15th March 2009, why did you return to his ‘shop’ a second time, a week later, on 22nd March, and allow him to remove your clothes again? Why did you return to his ‘shop’ a third time?”
I am not sure how Yang Dany would respond to such a question but it should be clear, by now, the difficulty APLE would have running a case such as this with so many inconsistencies, so many illogicalities, in a public setting, with the media present.
Given that APLE, with the assistance of the Cambodian authorities, SISHA, CEOP and the British embassies in Cambodia and Thailand had put so much effort into convincing Thai authorities to arrest Mr Fletcher, something more solid than the removal of clothing was required if all those involved were going to retain any credibility at all. The solution was to charge Mr Fletcher with rape – three weeks after his arrest in Thailand. This solution was rendered easy by the offer of $30,000 to Sekun and Yang Dany if they were prepared to say that David Fletcher had not simply removed Yang Dany’s clothes but had raped her.
Given Mr Fletcher’s previous 1998 conviction, all concerned in this affair figured that no-one would come to the aid of a man who could, so easily, be portrayed as a pedophile, as a sexual predator. For agencies dependent on a constant stream of convictions. Mr Fletcher was a Godsend.
This ‘rape’ solution to the credibility problem of all involved was perfect – except for two small problems:
(1) It became apparent in September 2010 to all involved (CEOP, SISHA, APLE, the Anti Human Trafficking Unit and the British Embassies in Cambodia and Thailand,) that Ynag Dany was still a virgin.
Fortunately for all concerned, this little problem would never become public knowledge if the trial was held in secret. And it helped that in this secret trial the judges declared, in their wisdom, that Yang Dany’s hymen must have grown back.
(2) The second problem was that Mr Fletcher’s passport, held by the British embassy in Thailand, indicated that he was not in Cambodia in March 2009. The solution to this little problem was relatively easy, however. Mr Fletcher’s passport simply had to be made to disappear. And disappear it did – ‘accidentally’ cancelled and destroyed by the Foreign & Commonwealth office.
In anticipation of Team Neeson and others launching their usual attack, let me ask you a question:
“How do you account for the 17 days that Mr Fletcher spent in a Thai jail, at the request of the Cambodian authorities, when court documents make it clear that Yang Dany had not yet come up with her clothing removal/rape story?”
Let’s be a little more bold and specific:
“Do you think that during these 17 days, Yang Dany and her mother’s story might have changed as a result of their being told that they stood to get $30,000 in compensation if they did?”
Hurl as much abuse as you like at me and Mr Fletcher but whilst you are at it, please provide us with your own logical explanation for Yang Dany’s change of story during this 17 days – after two years of round the clock surveillance by CEOP, SISHA and APLE!
Fifteen months later, two weeks after Mr Fletcher had been arrested in Thailand, with no charges laid, Yang Dany announces that on two occasions, in a location she cannot remember, Mr Fletcher removed her clothes.