Judiciary: Evidence hearing for the land fraud case that involves the former Royal Advisory Councillor, Chang Ugyen, will begin next month. The High Court’s Bench I heard the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) lawyers’ rebuttal on August 27.

The OAG lawyers did not present new arguments but reiterated their appeal to issue separate sentences for the two charges of land fraud against the defendant.

“Since the defence attorney did not present any arguments against the reasons we stated for appealing to the high court, we have nothing more to add,” the OAG lawyer said.

The prosecutors appealed to the high court challenging the Thimphu district court’s application of laws in delivering the judgment on July 14. The prosecutor said that the decision of the trial court’s compoundable sentence of two and a half year aggrieved the government.

Although the OAG charged Chang Ugyen under provisions of Thrimzhung Chenmo as the crime was committed in 1987, the court should have applied the Penal Code of Bhutan provisions in issuing the sentence.

However, the defence counsel argued that it should have been his client who should appeal on the judgment.

Defence attorney Ugyen Dorji said that charges against his client were not proven beyond reasonable doubt and the verdict was based on circumstantial evidence.

“The OAG as an institution should have dropped the case after the verdict respecting the district court’s decision but they, driven by a few individuals’ interests, are bent on sending my client to prison,” Ugyen Dorji said.

An OAG lawyer said that delivering appropriate sentences to the crimes could also deter people in position from violating laws.

The OAG has charged that Chang Ugyen, manipulated his thram and increased his land holding in Omkha by three acres to 3.02 acres, and registered seven acres in Lubding, both in Thimphu thromde during his tenure as a gup from 1987 to 1989.

Tshering Palden