Thinley Namgay  

Pemagatshel Dzongkhag Court on May 8 upheld the judgment of Nganglam Drungkhag Court and sentenced the Officer Commanding (OC) of Nganglam Police Station,  Jamyang Dorji, to six months in prison for sexual harassment of a female police constable.

However, the officer can pay thrimthue in lieu of the imprisonment term.

He appealed to the dzongkhag court with 12 points following his dissatisfaction over the drungkhag court’s judgment which was passed on October 31, last year. Police prosecuted the case.

The OC submitted to the court that he was not provided with any legal rights while the case was investigated. He said that both investigation and chargesheet were carried out by the police and were not done appropriately. “The dungkhag court didn’t look into these issues.”

He also mentioned that the way police reported the case was wrong but the court accepted.

According to OC, the drungkhag court couldn’t differentiate between criminal investigation and administrative investigation.

Without an arrest warning, his phone was seized by the police.  He said that the lower court didn’t do anything to the police regarding this matter.

The OC added that messages between him and the victim are based on mutual consensus, and the voice message recorded by the victim is due to her ill intention.  He asked the court to revoke the oral evidence of 12 people presented by the prosecutor but the court denied it.

He said that the prosecutor was unable to provide relevant answers in the court but the court itself carried out the role of prosecutor.

OC was convicted as per Section 205 of the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004. The section states that a defendant shall be guilty of sexual harassment if the defendant makes unwelcome physical, verbal or non-verbal abuse of sexual nature.

The sexual harassment case came into the limelight last year after an anonymous person alleged OC on social media for sexually harassing the female constable. The person wrote an open letter to the Chief of Police seeking justice for the female police constable.

The OC was accused of inappropriate touching and sharing of lewd photos with the victim who was a newly recruited constable.

The police formed a committee and investigated the case. The committee found a certain ingredient of criminality based on the victim’s statement to the committee.