Neten Dorji

The Wamrong Drungkhag Court sentenced a 27-year-old man from Khiri village in Lumang gewog to nine years in prison for the rape of a minor on October 25 last year.

The victim, aged 15 at the time of the incident, was assaulted during the annual tshechu in Wamrong.

Despite the potential for a maximum 15-year sentence for raping a child above 12 years, the court chose to impose the minimum sentence of nine years, citing the perpetrator’s lack of prior criminal record.

The judgment, rendered on February 1, noted medical evidence supporting the rape of the minor. According to the Penal Code, a person is deemed guilty of rape of a child above the age of twelve years if they engage in any act of sexual intercourse with a child between the ages of twelve to eighteen years.

However, consensual sex between children aged sixteen and above is not considered rape.

The crime is categorised as a second-degree felony, carrying a prison term of a minimum of nine years and a maximum of fifteen years.

Regarding compensation, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) requested it for the victim under Section 36 of the Penal Code of Bhutan. This section stipulates that victims are eligible for compensation only if there is evidence of physical harm.

Despite the absence of physical harm documented in the medical report, the court ordered the convict to pay compensation due to the mental distress suffered by the victim.

The court mandated the convict to pay Nu 11,250 as compensation to the victim within one month from  the day the judgment was given.

Sources in Wamrong, closely following the case, emphasised the significant role played by the Royal Bhutan Police in assisting the victim. According to them, reporting the matter to the police prevented further harm to the minor.

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

(The convict’s name was withheld to protect the minor)