The apprehension lingering among the residents of Trashigang town about the release of a repeated offender on bail came to an end with the passing of judgement by the dzongkhag court yesterday.

The 37-year-old defendant, Tashi Wangdi, who was arrested for illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, was sentenced to seven years in prison by the Trashigang dzongkhag court.

Tashi Wangdi was charged on two counts – under a fourth degree felony for possession of 19 tablets of Nitrosun 10 (N10) and a third degree felony for possessing 252 capsules of Spasmoproxyvon plus (SP+).

Under the fourth degree felony (three to five years), the defendant was sentenced to four years of imprisonment and under the third degree felony (five to nine years), he was given seven years of prison term.

The court under the concurrent sentencing convicted Tashi Wangdi for seven years imprisonment, of which he had spent 23 days in police custody. According to the verdict, the days in custody shall be deducted from his sentencing and he will serve six years, 11 months and seven days in prison.

The court declined Tashi Wangdi’s request to join a rehabilitation centre on the grounds that only those who are sentenced to three years and below are allowed  to join a rehab. The imprisonment is non-bailable.

Some residents of Trashigang town had shared concerns when Tashi Wangdi was granted bail on May 16. One of the residents who didn’t want to be named alleged that as a repeated offender, he shouldn’t have got the bail. “He was a miscreant and everyone knows about him. When we heard that he was arrested for the third time again, we were happy not for his arrest but for the community here,” he said.

The bail, however, was provided based on the resolution passed by the National Assembly on September 30, 2011. According to the resolution, an accused person awaiting trial and those who are charged under second-degree felony and below, are entitled bail.

Before the parliament’s resolution, no accused under any degree of felony were entitled for bail.

Another resident who requested anonymity alleged that Tashi Wangdi not only abused controlled substances himself but also sold to individuals in town. “Everyone in town knows about this but they won’t talk about it. Because of him, some residents in town are behind bars today,” he said. “Even the affected families won’t talk about this because they are all scared.”

Younten Tshedup |  Trashigang