Neten Dorji

Trashiyangtse dzongkhag court sentenced a local leader to 10 years in prison this week for raping a 16-year-old minor last year.

Kinzang Norbu, 29, who worked in the Tongmijangsa gewog administration as the Mangmi was convicted of raping the minor on the night of April 30 last year after picking her up from her school gate and spending the night in his house in Tongmijangsa.

The convict and the victim knew each other through Facebook, and the victim visited his house on April 30th of last year after they mutually agreed to meet.

The victim was aged 16 years old, 9 months and 25 days at the time of the incident, and was assaulted without consent.

Although Kinzang Norbu has previously confessed to the crime, his legal representative requested to change his statement in court, stating that the statement was collected under coercion. However, without evidence, the court dismissed the request.

Chat history on the Messenger mobile app and medical evidence were used as evidence. The chat history on their cell phones and Messenger showed the convict telling her not to disclose about the incident to her parents.

The mother reported the case to the police in Trashiyangtse.

The judgment, rendered on February 13, noted medical evidence supporting the rape of the minor.

The man was found guilty of violating section 183 of the amended Penal Code of Bhutan 2011. It states, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of rape of a child above the age of twelve years if the defendant  commits any act of sexual intercourse against a child between the ages of twelve to eighteen years.”

The offence is graded a second-degree felony with a prison term ranging from nine years to 15 years.

“He was sentenced to 10 years because he was knowledgeable about laws as a local leader and an educated man. Furthermore, he caused mental distress to the victim,” the judgment stated.

Kinzang Norbu was asked to pay a compensation of Nu 90,000, to the victim as per sections 36 and 202 of the Penal Code of Bhutan which is equivalent to two years’ national wage for ‘degrading and violating dignity’, and ‘intimidation and harassment’.

Section 36 states, “A Court may order a defendant to pay appropriate damages or reparation for any loss, injury, or deterioration caused to a victim.” Section 202 states, “The victim shall be entitled to compensation as per the provision of the Penal Code.”

In the event of dissatisfaction with the decision, both parties have the option to appeal to the higher court within 10 days of the judgement.

Kuensel learned that the defendant plans to appeal to the High Court.

(The victim’s details were withheld to protect her)