Chukha dzongkhag court sentenced a high school student to five years in prison for illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances on March 13.

The Chukha Central School authority reported to police that a student, Kuenley Peljor has abused Spasmoproxyvon Plus and could not sit for the annual examinations on October 27, 2017.

Police inspected his belongings, after seeking permission from the school authority, and found 69 capsules of SP+. A urine test came positive for SP+.

Kuenley Peljor, 20, in his statement admitted that he had taken the drug. However, he said that the illegal drugs belonged to his friend Yeshi Dorji. He said that it was given to him to look after as to hide it from his friend’s parents and relatives.

Kuenley Peljor claimed that the controlled substances were bought for Nu 850 and later to be divided among friends. Yeshi Dorji denied Kuenley Peljor’s claims. While another student saw Yeshi Dorji handing over a pink plastic to the accused, he didn’t know the content.

The court judgment stated that the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances, and Substance Abuse Act (NDPSSAA) 2015 states that the penalty would be imposed on the person in whose possession the drugs are found.

The court convicted Kuenley Peljor for violating section 139 (2) which states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances if he or she possesses, imports, exports, stores, sells, purchases, transports, distributes, or supplies any substances under Schedules III and IV of this Act regardless of the degree of purity.

The NDPSSAA 2015 classifies the offence as a third-degree felony for which the penalty ranges between five and nine years.

The Penal Code of Bhutan section 23 (A), states that the defendant not having a record of prior criminal conviction should be a mitigating circumstance for sentencing.

As per this section, the court issued the lowest sentence for the felony since Kuenley Peljor from Getena of Chukha did not have a record of previous conviction.

He has 10 working days from the date of the judgment to appeal the decision with the High Court.

Tshering Palden