Chhimi Dema

The High Court’s larger bench sentenced a JDWNRH anaesthesia technician to five years in prison for rape of a married woman and official misconduct.

The defendant was sentenced concurrently for the two convictions.

The 33-year-old technician was convicted of raping a patient attendant in April 2018 at the national referral hospital. He had sexual intercourse with the married woman after injecting her with Fentanyl.

Fentanyl is an opioid that is used as a pain medication and together with other medications for anaesthesia. It is commonly used before and after surgery.

The defendant appealed arguing that it was consensual sex and that the victim had agreed to inject the anaesthesia.

The defendant in his appeal requested the larger bench to re-investigate the charges and reduce the sentence handed by the lower courts.

The court dismissed the appeal saying that there was no evidence that it was consensual sex or that the victim and the defendant knew each other. The judgment stated that the victim neither agreed to his proposal nor knew him.

The judgment, rendered on May 17, stated that if it was consensual sex then there was no point for the defendant to inject the anaesthesia into the victim to make her lose consciousness.

The court stated that the defendant being a health worker was engaged in misconduct at his work and that there was evidence that the defendant had the motive to rape the victim. The judgment also stated that the event could trigger post-traumatic stress disorder in the victim.

Thimphu dzongkhag court asked the defendant to pay Nu 225,000 to the victim. However, since the defendant submitted that he has no source of income he was asked to pay Nu 22,500 which is equivalent to the national wage of six months to the victim.

The judgment stated that to reinstate the public’s trust in the health services and avoid such incidents in future the lower court’s judgment was upheld.