His accomplice was sentenced to 10 years

Crime: Thimphu district court’s bench IV, yesterday sentenced the three men involved in the murder of a 50-year-old taxi driver in Thimphu last year to prison terms ranging from eight months to 30 years.

A 50-year-old taxi driver from Samtse was found dead with multiple stab wounds near a stream above Babesa in Thimphu on April 21 last year.

The prime suspect, Tandin Gyeltshen and his accomplice, Karma Dorji, were sentenced to non-compoundable prison terms of 30 and 10 years respectively. They were charged for voluntary manslaughter.

A co-passenger in the taxi who witnessed the crime, Kinley Gyeltshen was sentenced to a compoundable prison term of eight months for failing to report the crime to police.

The verdict states that the suspects, as per sections 36 and 39 of the Penal Code, have to pay a total compensation of Nu 492,875 to the deceased’s wife. The compensatory damages shall be paid in lump sum within 10 days of the judgment.

The verdict also says that if the convicts are unable to pay the compensatory damage in cash, the compensation has to be paid in kind.

Otherwise, the convicts shall be in contempt of court and may be imprisoned until the fine is either paid or recovered and the court may also attach their properties.

The two convicts travelled in the taxi from Phuentsholing to Thimphu. The prime suspect confessed to police that he brought drugs and handed them to the driver for safekeeping. He said the driver demanded a Nu 5,000 fare otherwise he would report the drugs to police. A fight broke out between the two. Tandin Gyeltshen stabbed the driver and drove off with the taxi.

Two of them dumped the body and abandoned the bloodstained car near the Riverview hotel. A man found the body and reported it to police about four hours later. They were apprehended within days.

The convicts as per the Civil and Criminal Procedure Code can appeal to high court within 10 days of the judgment.

Dechen Tshomo