A man found guilty of rape of a six-year old daughter of his ex-wife was sentenced to 16 years in prison on August 7 in Punakha.

Punakha dzongkhag court found that on July 5 last year, the 39-year-old man from Trashigang had raped the girl when the two were at home.

Initially, he requested to conduct a forensic test as he was drunk at the time of the incident and could not recall anything.

On that day around 11am, the man had visited his ex-wife’s house to meet his son, who was at the time out with the cattle. He had also sent the ex-wife’s mother to buy some alcohol from a shop. That was when the crime happened.

The ex-wife’s mother reported the case to police. He was arrested and detained the next day. The case was filed in September. The trial was delayed as the court had to wait for the forensic test results. Then the defendant submitted in writing accepting the charges.

The 39-year old man admitted to the crime and submitted that he was drunk when he committed the crime.

Rape of a minor below 12 years is a first-degree felony, which has a sentencing ranging between 15 years and a lifetime imprisonment.

The amended Bhutan Penal Code section 181 states that a person is guilty of the offence of statutory rape, if he engages in any act of sexual intercourse whatever its nature with a child below 12 years, or an incompetent person, either with or without knowledge of the other person being a child or incompetent person.

The offence is graded similar to the offence against the Ku, Sung, Thuk-Ten, or Zung, which gets the highest sentencing.

However, as he did not have any prior criminal record, the court handed him the lowest sentencing of 15 years.

The court also ordered him to pay a compensation of Nu 45,000 or annual wage for a year.

“While the victim deserves compensation, the defendant has no means to pay so the amount of compensation is converted into prison term of one year,” the judgment stated.

Staff Reporter