Child molestation charges against ex-prosecutor dismissed for lack of evidence

By Hai Duyen, Huu Khoa   June 24, 2019 | 09:05 pm PT
Child molestation charges against ex-prosecutor dismissed for lack of evidence
Nguyen Huu Linh, a former prosecutor, appears at the People's Court of HCMC's District 4, June 25, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Huu Khoa.
A HCMC court has dismissed charges of molesting a five-year-old girl filed against a former prosecutor, saying more evidence is required.

The People’s Court of District 4 heard the charges against Nguyen Huu Linh, 61, once a deputy chief prosecutor in the central city of Da Nang and currently a lawyer, of "molesting a person under 16" at an in camera trial on Tuesday.

After two hours, the judge panel said the indictment did not clarify which act was deemed molestation. So they decided that further investigation is needed and the camera footage used in the case should be checked again.

Linh was visiting his son in District 4 on April 1 when he found himself in an elevator with the girl, whose identity has not been revealed to protect her privacy. He was caught on CCTV camera wrapping his arms around her neck and kissing her. When she squirmed away from him, he grabbed her again and only let her go when the door opened.

The girl told her parents about the incident and her family asked to see the elevator camera footage, which showed Linh had behaved inappropriately with her. The police later said he had also touched her thighs.

When questioned by the police, Linh said he had merely "petted" the girl he thought was cute and did kiss her three times, but not with the intention of molesting her.

Investigations showed there was "a possibility that [Linh’s] left hand had touched the front of the girl’s torso, and she ducked as a natural reflex," but there was no concrete evidence to determine the exact point of touch.

Linh has rejected the charges filed against him saying there was not enough evidence to constitute them. His lawyer also demanded more evidence to support the charges.

Vietnam recorded 1,547 cases of child sex abuse in 2018, down slightly from a year earlier, according to figures from the Ministry of Public Security. But the public and experts have repeatedly complained that persons found guilty of rape and sexual harassment are treated too leniently.

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