Trashigang dzongkhag court on December 27, 2018, sentenced a monk with the dzongkhag dratshang to nine months imprisonment for the accidental homicide of two people.

The two men were killed when the bolero pick up that the monk, Pema Phuntsho, was driving hit them while they were returning home from work near Lungtenzampa, along the Rangjung- Trashigang highway on November 20 last year.

The defendant was charged under culpable driving under the Road Safety and Transport Authority (RSTA) Act 1999. It was learnt that during the hearing, the defendant accepted the charges of culpable driving.

Section 66 (1) of the Act states that, “A person who culpably drives a motor vehicle and causes the death of another person is guilty of an offence and liable to imprisonment for at least six months or as the court determines or to a penalty of so penalty units or both.”

Section 66 (2) (b) states, “A person culpably drives a motor vehicle if he or she drives the motor vehicle with conscious and unjustifiable disregard to a substantial risk that the death may result from his or her driving.”

The offense is graded a petty misdemeanour as per the Penal Code of Bhutan. It was learnt that Pema Phuntsho paid a sum of Nu 37,500 in lieu of his imprisonment.

The incident had happened around 6:30pm on November 20 last year when the defendant was returning from Thrakthi in Sakteng towards Trashigang.

The two deceased, who used to work in a nearby construction site, were also returning home after their work when the incident happened. Once of the deceased aged 76 was killed on the spot. The other victim aged 43 died due to excessive bleeding after reaching Trashigang hospital.

The bolero pick-up had also veered off about 7ms below the road.

Kuensel learnt that during the course of the case hearing, the relatives of the victims refused to charge any complaints whatsoever against the defendant.

The dratshang had carried out the funeral rites for the two deceased.

Younten Tshedup | Trashigang