Australian nurse on trial in Cambodia denies recruiting women for surrogacy operation

Australian nurse on trial in Cambodia denies recruiting women for surrogacy operation

Australian nurse on trial in Cambodia denies recruiting women for surrogacy operation

Updated 13 June 2017, 23:05 AEST

An Australian nurse accused of running an illegal surrogacy business in Cambodia denies recruiting women or organising exit documents for babies.

An Australian nurse accused of running an illegal surrogacy business in Cambodia has denied recruiting women or organising exit documents for babies.

Tammy Davis-Charles took the stand in a Phnom Penh court after seven months in pre-trial detention.

She was charged with forging documents and acting as a go-between in an adoption.

"I asked three different lawyers about the law in Cambodia," Davis-Charles told the court.

"I was told that there was no law about surrogacy in Cambodia and it was allowed.

"If it was illegal I would never have done it."

Davis-Charles said she nursed the surrogate mothers and handled their payments, mostly from Australian clients.

She said a company named Sy Management recruited the women and arranged birth certificates and other documentation.

This was the first time the company's role had been mentioned in the case.

One of her Cambodian co-accused, a man, worked for Sy Management.

The other co-accused is a woman, who Davis-Charles said did nursing and translation.

Davis-Charles said she personally took US$8,000 ($10,600) from each surrogacy, but the total "package" was usually valued at around US$50,000 ($66,200).

She said intended parents would make payments to a fertility clinic and the management company directly.

There were moments of frustration in the court when the prosecutor read police statements she insisted were incorrect.

The trial is continuing.