The High Court’s Bench I yesterday sentenced a 22 year-old man to nine years and six months for rape of a minor.
The defendant and 16-year-old girl submitted to court that it was consensual sex. The victim also submitted to court that she does not need any compensation.
The case was first reported as a missing person case. The girl went missing from home in Thimphu on June 10 this year. The next day, her family reported to police to help find the girl.
The police alerted its offices across the country to search for the missing girl.
The missing girl was spotted in Jaigaon on June 14. The police apprehended her the next day. The man was also arrested subsequently. The duo submitted in court that they had met only on that day.
The prosecutor from the Office of the Attorney General submitted a medical report as corroborative evidence of their sexual relationship.
The man and the girl met on Facebook and became friends. But submitted in court that they had never met before the encounter in Jaigaon. The girl was on her way to Siliguri, India to seek employment and the defendant offered to help.
The defendant was found guilty of rape of a girl above 12 years. Bhutan Penal Code categorises such a crime as a third degree offence with a sentence to imprisonment ranging between five and nine years.
However, he was ordered a higher sentence as the defendant was a repeat offender and was convicted by the court.
He was sentenced two times to imprisonment terms in 2016. He was ordered to serve 18 months for battery and larceny. He was ordered three months imprisonment in the second case of battery and illegal display of weapon.
The case was prosecuted at the High Court as the crime had occurred outside the country.
The defendant has 10 official days to appeal against the decision to the larger bench of the High Court.