A lawyer plans to seek criminal charges against top Philippine government officials for their decision to allow a jailed U.S. Marine to be transferred to U.S. custody.

A Philippine court convicted the Marine of rape in early December and sentenced him to 40 years in prison.

Attorney Evalyn Ursua argues that Philippine government officials broke the law when they helped secure Lance Corporal Daniel Smith's release because they did so without a court order. Ursua is representing the Philippine rape victim.

Philippine government officials say they were just following a joint agreement with the U.S. the Visiting Forces Agreement when they turned the Marine over to the U.S. Embassy last week.

The joint agreement provided for Lance Corporal Smith to be handed over to U.S. custody while legal appeals are underway.

The 23-year-old victim accused the Marine of raping her last year after a night of drinking.

Smith denies raping the woman. He says they had consensual sex.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.