Punakha dzongkhag court imprisoned a man, sent another to rehabilitation and acquitted one on the charges of illicit trafficking of hashish.

Dorji Wangchuk, 22, from Sirigang, Punakha, was apprehended with 138 grammes of hashish at Khuruthang in November last year. That day he returned after collecting the hashish from Hebisa in Wangdue.

The prosecutors submitted to the court that Dorji Wangchuk was in possession of hashish beyond the limit prescribed in the Narcotic Drugs Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act 2018.

However, the defendant confessed in court that it was meant for self-consumption and not for sale.

Dorji Wangchuk said that he had committed the offence out of ignorance, as he is a farmer and requested the court to order the least punishment possible.

The court, in its judgment last month, found him guilty of violating section 134 of the NDPSSAA 2015 and section 133 of the amended NDPSSAA 2018 and ordered him to five years and seven months in prison. 

Section 133 states that a person shall be guilty of an offence of illicit trafficking of cannabis and its derivatives, regardless of the degree of purity, if he or she possesses, imports, exports, stores, sells, purchases, transports, distributes, or supplies cannabis or its derivatives if it is more than the quantity determined in Schedule VII of this Act.

Section 134 grades the act of illicit trafficking of cannabis and its derivatives as a felony of third degree if the quantity is more than two times the quantity determined in the Schedule VII of this Act.

Another person, Yeshey Dorji, who accompanied Dorji Wangchuk to collect hashish from Hebisa was charged for aiding and abetting.

However, he submitted to the court that he had collected cannabis for self-consumption. He had consumed what he collected at the collection spot and did not possess the controlled substance at the time of arrest.

The court ordered him rehabilitation of not less than three months as per the NDPSSAA.

The prosecutor argued that third person involved, Pema Tshering should be held liable for aiding and abetting as he had taken ration for the two.

Dorji Wangchuk and Yeshey Dorji submitted to the court that Pema Tshering was only picking them up from Hebisa and that he was not involved in the crime.

The court acquitted him of the charges.

Staff reporter