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Cambodia

Corruption - Answer #4

4.) You've been arrested for having sex with a twelve-year-old (I know, I know, but this is a piece about corruption and including the legal system is certainly within the realm here - would you rather I made you a murderer or drug smuggler? I choose pedophilia because it elicits the most emotion from people - anyway, allow me to continue). Okay, you've been busted. You're guilty, but you'll never admit it. The evidence is a little shaky. While not enough to convict you in a court back home in Australia, it'll suffice in the less transparent proceedings of a Cambodia courtroom. The worst-case scenario is twenty years in jail. Your lawyer suggests to you that if you can come up with $40,000 in cash the victim won't testify and you won't be convicted. If you don't raise the cash you'll serve some portion of your sentence partially connected to how much money you were able to raise. No money = 20 years. A few grand, maybe 10 years. $10K and you're out in five. You raise the full $40K, make the payment and walk free. Has justice been served?

ANSWER: This is the one answer that may stir up the most controversy but believe it or not, a lot of people here would say that $40K to walk free in lieu of a prison term is justice served, especially if a nice piece of that cash is given to the victim, which is a lot more than they would have ever received if you rotted in prison for twenty years. The idea that every crime must be answered by a lengthy prison sentence is not universally shared in these parts, especially when you consider that if you were put away in prison and you had some cash you could buy yourself a private cell, TV, computer, telephone, and even a female companion from the women's ward.

The justice system has a ways to go here and for the most part, it's a pay as you go system and bribery in many respects should be seen as nothing more than a fine, which sometimes can be quite a hefty one. And one always has the choice of paying or not.

Now, here's a joke:
Two people are involved in a legal dispute. The plaintiff gives the judge $6,000, the defendant gives the judge $9,000. The judge brings the two before him and says, "You've both given me money to rule in your favor." Turning to the plaintiff he says, "You've given me six thousand dollars," and then turning to the defendant he says, "and you've given me nine thousand dollars, so I'm going to return to you three thousand dollars," and looking at them both, "and judge this case on its merits."

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Cambodia

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All text and photographs 1998 - 2006 Gordon Sharpless. Commercial or editorial usage without written permission of the copyright holder is prohibited.