Restrictions lifted on man convicted of sex crimes abroad

Orville Mader, convicted of sex crimes against young boys in Asia, tries to block photographers from taking his picture after making an appearance in provincial court in Abbortsford, B.C. Monday, December 3, 2007. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward)

Orville Mader, convicted of sex crimes against young boys in Asia, tries to block photographers from taking his picture after making an appearance in provincial court in Abbortsford, B.C. Monday, December 3, 2007. (THE CANADIAN PRESS / Jonathan Hayward)

VANCOUVER — A man convicted in absentia of sex crimes against children in Cambodia has been allowed unrestricted freedom in Canada, even though the Crown expressed concerns when he was arrested that he was a danger to children.

While a judge granted a restraining order against Orville Mader meant to protect children back in 2007, that order has been allowed to lapse.

Now, it's unclear whether the man who has not been charged with offences is Canada will be free to travel to other countries.

Mader faces a 15-year jail term in Cambodia for sex crimes against children and was accused of sex crimes against a 13-year-old boy in Thailand, but travelled back to Canada shortly after the charges were laid.

When he arrived in Vancouver in late 2007 carrying nothing but his laptop computer, he was arrested and held.

At the time, the Crown said investigators were working on sex-tourism charges against Mader. In the meantime a judge granted an order under Section 810.1 of the Criminal Code when prosecutor Wendy van Tongeren Harvey said there were concerns he was a danger to children.

"He's attracted to not only boys, but young boys. We're seeking conditions where children are safe," she told the provincial court judge in 2007.

Details of the court proceedings that day were protected by a publication ban that has now expired.

Among his many restrictions, Mader was ordered to stay away from children and anywhere they might congregate, to stay off the Internet, to give up his passport and to report on a regular basis to the authorities near where he was staying in Surrey, B.C.

While the order was renewed against him annually in 2008 and 2009, it wasn't renewed in November 2010.

RCMP Staff Sgt. Ed Boettcher said police did a lot of work on the Mader file both in Canada and internationally.

"There came a time in 2009 where investigators met with Crown and said this is what we've compiled, Crown looked at it and said it doesn't meet the standards of Canadian evidence."

He said satisfying the evidence threshold would have taken a massive effort.

Neil MacKenzie, spokesman with the B.C. Crown prosecutors office, said his office wasn't involved in the decision not to reapply for the 810 restrictions for Mader.

He said Mader fully complied and co-operated with Corrections B.C. while under the peace bond restrictions.

"In view of the circumstances of his time under supervision, Corrections did not believe there was an adequate basis to seek renewal of the peace bond. That would have been a decision made by Corrections."

Van Tongeren Harvey told the judge during the November 2007 hearing that Mader detailed his tastes for young boys during email conversations found on his computer.

"He described boys coming into his room, his sexual preferences," she told the court. "He had eight boys over 11 days ... including one tiny 11-year-old boy he called a 'sweetie pie."'

No pictures were found but van Tongeren Harvey said several emails found in Mader's computer from a hotmail account detail his sexual encounters with boys in Asia.

None of the allegations have been proven in a Canadian court.

Van Tongeren Harvey told the court Mader escaped to Vietnam the day after the accusation in Thailand was made.

Mader's lawyer at the time, Brian Coleman, said his client denies the allegations involving the boy and that he fled from Thailand.

Coleman also noted that Mader was originally acquitted in Cambodia of the debauchery charge and had stayed to face the accusation, but a second trial resulted in a conviction even though Mader wasn't there to defend himself.

He said there was no justice involved in the debauchery conviction.

"Cambodia, the last time I checked, isn't known as a bastion of democracy."

Brian McConaghy, of the Cambodian aide organization Ratanak International, was disappointed to hear Mader wouldn't be charged, saying it simply shores up Canada's reputation on the issue.

"I think (Canada) is perceived as being fairly weak on this," said McConaghy, who spent decades with the RCMP before founding Ratanak.

"Canadian police do not have the resources, these are international files that by definition are expensive and they're complex."

McConaghy agreed Cambodia's justice system is corrupt, but said that usually falls in the offender's favour if they can purchase their way out of a police investigation or charges.

Boettcher said officers have watched Mader in B.C.'s Lower Mainland while he was under restrictions.

"There had been checks done. There was no indication of non-compliance."

Boettcher said Mader last checked in with officials in Surrey as required at the end of his term in late 2010, but he's not sure if Mader still lives in the area.

He couldn't say if Mader's passport was returned and an official with Passport Canada could not give any information in connection to Mader because of privacy concerns.

Under its regulations, Passport Canada is allowed to revoke travel documents if the person has been charged with an indictable offence in Canada or a similar offence abroad.

Mader is presumed innocent because no charges will be laid here in Canada, and McConaghy said there would be no reason his passport wouldn't be returned.

"Which I believe is in error ...," he said.

Canada's sex-tourism law was enacted in 1997, but has been rarely used since then and has just a few convictions to its credit.

Mader was arrested not long after a world-wide manhunt was launched for Christopher Neil, a former resident of Maple Ridge, B.C.

Neil was picked up in Thailand on charges of sexually assaulting children and posting the acts on the Internet while disguising his face with a digital swirl.

Neil pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy and a Thai court sentenced him to three years and three months in prison.

Convicted Man Walks Free

Convicted Man Walks Free Police in Canada won't lay charges against man convicted in Cambodia. Story by: Doug Collins

A man convicted in absentia for sex crimes against children in Cambodia has now been allowed unrestricted freedom in Canada after the R-C-M-P declined to lay charges.
Orville Mader had faced three years of restrictions that kept him off the Internet and away from children in Canada, and Crown counsel says he fully complied with those conditions.
The R-C-M-P's decision not to lay charges means no longer faces those restrictions, as police and prosecutors allowed his peace bond to lapse late last year.
Mader got on a plane in Vancouver from Asia in 2007, shortly after he was charged in Thailand for sexually assaulting a teenage boy.

Cambodia anti-drug chief faces corruption charge

The head of Cambodia's anti-drug trafficking agency has been charged with drug-related corruption.

The chief of the anti-corruption unit said Monday that police Lt. Gen. Moek Dara, secretary-general of the National Authority for Combating Drugs, has been formally charged in Banteay Meanchey provincial court.

The charges Sunday came about a week after Moek Dara was first detained. On Friday, the Banteay Meanchey provincial police chief and his deputy were charged by the same court with corruption. Both were arrested on suspicion of taking bribes to release drug trafficking suspects.

Under Cambodia's anti-corruption law, passed last year, any official found guilty of taking bribes faces up to 15 years in prison. From

Cambodian inmate deported

A Cambodian inmate has been returned to his homeland under a prisoner transfer agreement between Bangkok and Phnom Penh.

The prisoner, whose name and offences were withheld, had been serving a four-year sentence at Bang Khwang Central Prison. The inmate was the first Cambodian prisoner transferred from Thailand under the 2009 agreement.

The prisoner transfer was witnessed yesterday by Cambodian ambassador You Aye and Thai senior foreign ministry officials.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Thani Thongpakdee said the transfer had nothing to do with simmering tensions which resurfaced following the arrest of seven Thais on charges of illegal entry to Cambodian territory on Dec 29.

Mr Thani said the process had been "worked on for some time".Cambodia transferred three Thai Muslim prisoners last September to Thailand.

The three had been jailed in Cambodia since 2003 for terrorism offences.

Three other Cambodian prisoners presently serving terms in Thailand would be sent home, Mr Thani said. From bangkok

Tensions between North, South Korea play out in Cambodian restaurant wars

Dec. 28: South Korean protesters burn a placard showing the defaced portraits of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (L) and his youngest son and successor-in-waiting Kim Jong-un (R) during an anti-North Korea rally in Seoul on December 28, 2010.

Dec. 28: South Korean protesters burn a placard showing the defaced portraits of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il (L) and his youngest son and successor-in-waiting Kim Jong-un (R) during an anti-North Korea rally in Seoul on December 28, 2010.

Photograph by: JUNG YEON-JE, AFP/Getty Images

Here's advice for anyone hankering for Korean food in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh or the tourist mecca of Siem Reap. Sit close to the door and with your back to the wall.

Cambodia has several Korean restaurants, most operated by South Koreans. But in Siem Reap there are two operated by North Korea and there's another in Phnom Penh.

Trouble started when South Korean restaurateurs condemned last year's attacks by the North on one of the South's warships and on its Yeonpyeong Island.

In retaliation, South Korean restaurant owners report their premises have been attacked by people "who appeared to be North Korean agents."

Seoul's embassy in Phnom Penh has recommended to South Korean tourist agencies that they avoid the North's eateries.

Court hears bail bid today

Veera and his secretary 'unlikely to be released'

PHNOM PENH : Cambodia's Appeal Court is expected to decide today whether to grant bail to five Thais being held in Prey Sar prison on trespassing charges.

Road block: Members of the Thai Patriots Network and Santi Asoke sect block Phitsanulok Road beside Government House to build makeshift shelters for a prolonged rally. The group says it will petition His Majesty the King to oust the Democrat-led government for failing to obtain the release of seven Thai detainees in Cambodia. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD

The five are scheduled to arrive at the court at 7am and are expected to be taken to a chamber to await the court decision on their bail request, said Pon Savath, the chief clerk of the court.

Mr Pon said the media would be allowed in the courtroom but would be barred from taking photographs.

Three judges have been appointed to consider the bail request and they are expected to arrive at their decision within two to three hours.

The submission to the Appeal Court follows a ruling by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday against granting bail to the five Thais.

Mr Pon said the five could apply to the Supreme Court if the Appeal Court today upheld the lower court's decision.

The five Thai nationals still in detention are Veera Somkhwamkid, a coordinator of the Thai Patriots Network, a splinter group of the yellow shirt People's Alliance for Democracy; Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, Mr Veera's secretary; Samdin Lertbutr and Tainae Mungmajon, members of the Santi Asoke cult; and Kitchaponthorn Chusanasevi, an aide to Democrat MP for Bangkok Panich Vikitsreth.

The five are among seven Thai nationals held by Cambodian authorities after they allegedly crossed the border into Cambodia on Dec29 last year.

Cambodia has accused the seven, who include Mr Panich and his secretary Narumol Chitvarattana, of trespassing on its territory and illegally entering a military area in Banteay Meanchey opposite Thailand's Sa Kaeo province.

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided on Thursday to grant bail to Mr Panich and Ms Narumol for health reasons. The two have been given shelter at the Thai ambassador's residence inside the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh.

The seven could face up to 18 months in jail if they are found guilty of the charges.

Mr Veera and Ms Ratree have also been charged with espionage and could face a maximum of 10 years in prison.

Diplomatic sources close to the case in Phnom Penh said it was possible that three of the five Thais still in detention could be released on bail this week.

Mr Veera and Ms Ratree are likely to be kept in prison because they have entered Cambodia illegally several times and are facing more serious charges, the sources said.

Cambodian authorities want assurances from Mr Veera that he would not again become involved in provocative behaviour.

The sources quoted Cambodian officials as saying Mr Veera had submitted written assurances in the past when he had been arrested saying he would not stray again into Cambodian territory.

The sources said it was up to the Cambodian court whether those granted bail would be allowed to leave the country and return to Thailand.

Mr Pon said: "In my opinion, this is not a big case. It is a common case. Every suspect, regardless of their nationality, has the right to seek bail if they are arrested in Cambodia."

He said the two Cambodian lawyers representing the Thais were simply following the law in seeking bail for their clients.

If the five were released on bail, they would have to put up money as surety. They would not be allowed to leave Cambodia until the Phnom Penh Municipal Court decided whether to convict them.

Mr Pon said Cambodian law required that the trial of the seven Thais must be completed within six months.

Ros Aun, one of the lawyers representing the Thais, went to the Appeal Court yesterday to follow up the request for bail.

Mr Ros said he was still unsure whether the court would grant the bail request.
From Bangkok


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