Verdict: Thimphu district court’s bench II acquitted a 29-year old man yesterday who was charged for illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

The verdict states that the trafficking charges against the man could not be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

Police in its charge sheet stated that they found the man throwing something from his vehicle when he visited the traffic police office following an accident on June 1 last year at Chang Gedaphu, Thimphu. Police submitted to the court that they found 73 Spasmoproxyvon capsules that the man tried to throw away when he reached the traffic police office. Following this, police charged the man for illicit trafficking.

However, the verdict stated that police could not provide evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt in line with section 96.2 of the Civil and Criminal Procedures Code. Section 96.2 on burden of proof in a criminal case states that finding of guilt against one or more of the parties can only be given when the prosecution to the full satisfaction of the court has established a proof beyond reasonable doubt.

The verdict also states that police constables on duty at the time of the incident had verbally informed the court that they found Spasmoproxyvon capsules but could not prove it during the evidence hearing. However, if the charges for illicit trafficking is proven with evidence against the man in future, the verdict states that charges will be applicable on him in line with the Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Substance Abuse Act (NDPSSA) 2015.

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) had charged the man for illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances in line with section 139.2 and 141.1 of the NDPSSA Act. Sections 139.2 states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offense of illicit trafficking if he or she possesses, imports, exports, stores, sells, purchases, transports, distributes, or supplies any substances under Schedules III and IV of the Act regardless of the degree of purity.

Section 141.1 states that a felony of third degree if the quantity is equal to or less than the quantity determined in Schedule VII of this Act.

According to the verdict, the man tested positive for using marijuana and benzodiazepine after he was found in an intoxicated state. The man also confessed that he abused these substances.

However, the man in his statement to the court denied the charges of the illicit trafficking against him. He submitted that he was intoxicated but did not carry the Spasmoproxyvon capsules. He said that police had picked the capsules on the way before reaching the accident site and later charged him for it. He also contested that he should have tested positive for abusing Spasmoproxyvon if it belonged to him like he tested for marijuana and benzodiazepine.

He confessed at the court that he had abused marijuana a month ago and the benzodiazepine about three days before he tested positive. The traffic police had also submitted to the court that the man had admitted bringing the consignment from the Indian border town of Jaigaon. However, the man denied giving such a statement saying he was in an intoxicated state then. The man also said that police doctored the statement.

The OAG has ten days to appeal to the High Court if they are not satisfied with the court verdict.

Kinga Dema