High Court upholds district court verdict on farmer, who impregnated minor
The High Court has upheld the lower court’s judgment, which sentenced in February this year a 20-year-old farmer to nine years in prison for impregnating a 16-year-old girl last year in Pamtsho, Thimphu.
The court’s bench II ruled that the lower court had sentenced Tshering Dorji in accordance with the provisions of civil and criminal procedure code and the penal code.
Tshering Dorji from Pasakha village in Wangdue district was charged for raping the minor from Trashigang.
Tshering Dorji had appealed on the grounds that the sex was consensual. He also said that he would be able to pay alimony only after his release, as his parents were too poor to pay on his behalf. Therefore he appealed the sentence be lowered.
As per the lower court’s verdict, although Tshering Dorji had not raped the girl, section 183 of the penal code says a defendant is guilty of rape, if there is sexual intercourse with a minor between the ages of 12 to 18 years.
Section 184 classifies rape of minor above 12 years as felony of the second degree, and the sentence is a minimum of nine years and maximum of 15 years.
The lower court verdict stated that, following “mutual” sex last year, the girl had gone home to her village to attend to her mother, who was unwell.
When she returned, Tshering Dorji was nowhere to be seen. She had tried calling him but to no avail. Later, she gave birth to a son at national referral hospital in his absence.
Tshering Dorji was apprehended on December 18 last year and the victim, through Office of the Attorney General, filed a case against him.
Besides the sentence, Tshering Dorji will also have to pay Nu 600 a month as alimony for the child. He was also asked to pay Nu 30,000 for being unable to help her during delivery.
By Tashi Phuntsho