… Defendant’s children were released on bail 

Rinzin Wangchuk  

An inquiry team from Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) headquarters in Thimphu established that the recent stabbing and assault incident at the country’s highest appellate court occurred due to procedural and security lapses. The internal investigation concluded yesterday.

The team pointed out that the judiciary didn’t have a proper system in place to prevent such incidents. They also found that there was no proper coordination among the stakeholders.

“There were some procedural lapses and police will be recommending the Supreme Court (SC) to fix accountability on those who were responsible for lapses,” an official from the crime and operations branch of RBP said. “The SC should also carry out an inquiry into their lapses.”

The incident of April 29 could have been prevented had the sitting justices handed over the defendants to police as per the practising procedures after passing the judgment on the Trongsa land case.  The court also allowed both parties to exit together from the courtroom.

The Registrar General of the SC, Gembo Dorji said that it was too early to comment as the issue is being looked into.

On security lapses, the police official said that the RBP will fix accountability to concerned police personnel. However, he didn’t specify what kind of action would be taken against those on duty. There were seven police personnel deployed at the High Court and Supreme Court premises.

Some parties who attended the court hearing were not frisked at the gate as well as before entering the courtroom. Concerned security officials had not arranged police van and jailers to take the three defendants although court officials informed the Thimphu City Police to send jailers and police van prior to the passing of judgment.

Meanwhile, another team from Thimphu City Police is still investigating the SC incident where the defendant and his family members assaulted two Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) officials. “We are expecting to complete the investigation by Monday or Tuesday,” the police official said.

The Thimphu dzongkhag court granted bail for the defendant’s two sons yesterday. Earlier on May 6, the defendant’s daughter was released on bail. They were detained for involvement in an allegedly battery case during the altercation.