Chimi Dema | Tsirang
Dagana dzongkhag court sentenced a 23-year-old man from Tsendagang, Dagana to nine years in prison for rape of a child above the age of 12.
The court convicted the defendant in accordance with the Penal Code (Amendment) Act of Bhutan 2011 which grades the crime as a second degree felony.
The judgement, which was rendered on April 24, stated that the defendant and the 14-year-old girl from the same village in Tsendagang gewog met through Facebook three months prior to the incident.
The defendant, upon his return from work station in Trongsa on January 5, informed the victim about his arrival. The duo then engaged in sexual intercourse the next day at the defendant’s house, according to the judgment.
They engaged in another sexual intercourse on February 1, following which the father of the victim filed a complaint with police the next day. The police arrested the man.
According to the judgment, the complaint was filed on the grounds that if an act of sexual intercourse between the perpetrator and victim was consensual or not, and if the victim, who is merely 14-year and four months old has the capacity to give a legally qualified consent for the act.
The complainant also asked for a quantum meruit of the compensation to the victim from the defendant.
The judgment also stated that the defendant had pleaded guilty and admitted to committing sexual intercourse with the victim on two occasions.
Both the defendant and victim had also admitted that their acts were purely consensual, the judgment states.
However, the victim, being below the age of 18 years, has no capacity to give legal consent in accordance with section 16 of the Child Care and Protection Act of Bhutan 2011, according to the judgment. “Even if a minor or underaged-person gives permission, this never implies consent for a minor is never accountable.”
The corroborating evidence, the medical examination conducted the next day after the incident of the latest intercourse showed that the victim had sexual intercourse in the past, the judgement states.
The court could not provide compensatory damages to the victim as the medical report did not indicate use of force or body injury. “The act of sexual intercourse was purely consensual,” it stated. The victim’s father in consultation with the victim was said to have submitted to the prosecutor to waive off the right to compensatory damages from the defendant.
Meanwhile, if aggrieved by the decision, both the parties can appeal to the higher court within 10 days of the judgment.