Verdict: Gelephu Dungkhag court last week sentenced a 19-year-old man from Drujeygang in Dagana to nine years imprisonment for raping a 14-year-old girl from Zhemgang last October.

Both the man and the girl were working as parking fee collector in Gelephu. Although the defendant claimed that it was consensual sex, the court on April 1 sentenced the man for committing an offence of raping a child above 12 years.

The verdict stated that although the petition of the man’s mother pleaded for clemency, the court could not consider the petition because the age of consent is clearly reflected in the Penal Code of Bhutan.

“During the time of commission of crime, the girl was 14 years and the man, 19,” the verdict stated. “It does not fall between the age of 16 and 18, and there is no issue of consensus, even if they claimed it to be.”

Section 183 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of rape of a child above the age of twelve years ,if the defendant commits any act of sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of 12 to 18 years. However, consensual sex between children of 16 and 18 shall not be deemed to be rape.

The court has given him 10 days to appeal.

By Yeshey Dema, Tsirang