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Director Peter Weir testifies for James Ricketson in Cambodian court

Acclaimed Australian director Peter Weir has advised a Cambodian courtroom his pal and alleged secret agent James Ricketson is a sufferer of an “unlucky false impression.”

Weir seemed as a personality witness for fellow filmmaker Ricketson, who’s accused of espionage after flying a drone over an opposition political rally earlier than native elections in June ultimate yr.

“He’s an artist, don’t misunderstand him,” Weir advised a panel of 3 judges on Thursday. “We’re ordinary other folks however we’re beautiful risk free.”

Weir admitted Ricketson may just annoy other folks together with his critiques however mentioned he used to be “a unfastened philosopher like me” and used to be now not a member of any political birthday party.

Weir, the director of movies comparable to Gallipoli and Useless Poets Society, spoke eloquently and gripped the general public gallery as he took the stand for greater than an hour on Thursday.

He mentioned Ricketson had visited him greater than a yr in the past and advised him how he sought after to movie from above an island and so he had purchased a drone.

“I noticed the photographs and so they had been stunning. James is completely a non-violent guy however he’s all the time filming together with his digicam,” he advised the courtroom.

Wearing jail orange and taking a look drained, having misplaced weight after greater than a yr in jail, Ricketson used to be met within the packed courtroom room by means of friends and family, together with Weir.

The 69-year-old produced 1,600 pages of proof, passed to him by means of Cambodian prosecutors alleging he used to be a secret agent and that this dated again to when he first visited the rustic in 1995.

Ricketson mentioned the paperwork had been taken from his laptop and integrated emails to reporters, non-governmental organisations and the Australian top minister, Malcolm Turnbull.

Ricketson mentioned one of the most emails had been despatched to opposition politicians, together with Sam Rainsy, former chief of the now-banned Cambodian Nationwide Rescue birthday party.

However he mentioned the ones emails had been performed within the commonplace direction of industrial between a journalist and a political candidate.

Ricketson’s case used to be tied to the CNRP forward of elections held 3 weeks in the past that had been marred by means of controversy.

“There’s now not one shred of proof in there to beef up claims I’m a secret agent,” he mentioned earlier than the beginning of his trial.

“I needed to arise,” Weir mentioned out of doors the courtroom. “He’s been certainly one of my perfect pals for 45 years and we are living in the similar suburb.”

Ricketson advised pass judgement on Seng Leang his house deal with used to be in Palm Seashore in Sydney.

Ricketson’s case confronted an additional extend after his legal professional shocked the courtroom with an additional bail utility, which used to be once more rejected.

His trial used to be adjourned till 20 August.

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