The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) charged an 18-year-old man for rape of a child above 12 years to the Thimphu district court earlier this month.

OAG prosecutors initially returned the case to police, as it was not established if he was above 18 years since the accused’s statement stated he was 17 years old.

The OAG’s December 29, 2017 letter stated that going by the available information police provided, the office ruled that the accused was also a minor and prosecuting the case would be a miscarriage of justice since both the accused and victim were minors.

But the office reviewed the case and framed the charges after police provided the accused’s birth card and certificate as corroborating evidence to confirm the accused’s age.

OAG then charged the man for violating section 183 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004, which states, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of rape of a child above the age of 12 years, if the defendant has sexual intercourse with a child between the age of 12 to 18 years” although the act was consensual.

It was established that the girl, who was 15 years five months and 10 days old then exchanged text messages with the accused, who was 18 years three months and 15 days old on November 24. The two decided to meet the next day.

After meeting the next day, the two spent four days in a house rented by the accused’s friend.

The case surfaced after the girl’s mother lodged a ‘missing of person’ case with the police on November 28, stating that her daughter went missing since November 25 after she left for school that morning.

The crime is graded a second-degree felony.

Tashi Dema