Altering the Phuentsholing drungkhag court’s judgment, Chukha dzongkhag court sentenced a 28-year-old man to three years on a reduced charge of aiding and abetting in drug trafficking last week.

The defendant, Subash Tamang from Samtse, was charged for trafficking 436 capsules of Spasmoproxyvon and 20 bottles of Corex each containing 100ml on August 9, 2016.

Police found the controlled substances concealed in a carton box and loaded on Meto Transport, which was travelling to Thimphu that day, at the bus terminal.

The Phuentsholing court judgment issued in January this year stated that Subash Tamang submitted to the court that the box was given to him by a non-Bhutanese.

The court in its judgment pointed out that while he claimed that the box did not belong to him, Subash Tamang failed to identify the non-Bhutanese who gave him the box.

“Moreover, he told the bus driver that his mother was seriously ill at the JDWNRH and had to urgently reach Thimphu and paid Nu 250,” the judgment stated.

Subash Tamang also tested positive for drugs.  The court sentenced him to five years in prison.

On appeal by the defendants, the Chukha dzongkhag court altered the lower court’s judgment and reduced the sentence. The dzongkhag court in its judgment stated that the defendant was found guilty based on the statement of the bus driver and the defendant’s failure to identify the non-Bhutanese who, he claimed gave him the box containing the prohibited substances.

“However, there is also no evidence beyond reasonable doubt to prove that the banned substances belonged to the defendant,” the judgment stated.

But the court found him guilty of aiding and abetting, a fourth-degree felony, for which the defendant could be given a prison term ranging from three to five years. As the defendant did not have any past criminal record, he was handed the minimum sentence of three years in prison.

OAG attorney Dendup Tshering said that the office after reviewing the judgment and the merits of the case, has decided to appeal to High Court. He is expected to appeal next week.

Tshering Palden