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Legal: Freelance journalist Namgay Zam, in her third rebuttal yesterday, submitted that if the plaintiff fails to prove the actual damage, the defamation suit be declared cantankerous litigation and the plaintiff, Sonam Phuntsho be held accountable and be made to pay appropriate damages to the defendants.

Defendants question plaintiff’s reputation in defamation case

Legal: Freelance journalist Namgay Zam, in her third rebuttal yesterday, submitted that if the plaintiff fails to prove the actual damage, the defamation suit be declared cantankerous litigation and the plaintiff, Sonam Phuntsho be held accountable and be made to pay appropriate damages to the defendants.

Namgay Zam submitted that she still maintains that there are no grounds for defamation for posting Dr Shacha Wangmo’s story on Facebook.

She also pleaded with the court to order the plaintiff to submit an affidavit under oath that his reputation and character were spotless before the sharing of the story on her Facebook page.

Namgay Zam also submitted that the plaintiff should point out the particular law that allows for exorbitant amounts of compensation for defamation. She also submitted that Sonam Phuntsho prove that he was not influenced by extortionist motives as he has orally submitted that the post had not caused him monetary damage.

She also submitted that Sonam Phuntsho does not have a good name in society, and questioned what reputation he is seeking to protect. She asked whether the plaintiff’s ill repute has been confirmed instead because of Dr Shacha’s story. “He can ask his own family members about his reputation and character,” said Namgay Zam.

She also submitted that Sonam Phuntsho has so far failed to establish how it has defamed him.

She pointed out that the plaintiff had boldly accused the Supreme Court’s judge Rinzin Penjore and Tashi Choezom of having been under the influence of alcohol and having been bribed by Dr Shacha Wangmo and her mother, while deciding on their property dispute. She asked if this did not constitute contempt of court and defamation.

Replying to Sonam Phuntsho’s earlier rebuttal that the case has led to him becoming depressed, Namgay Zam and Dr Shacha Wangmo submitted that the identity of the doctor be made public as the doctor claims to have pinpointed the exact cause of depression. She said that such a feat of identifying the exact cause of depression is unheard of in medical history.

Dr. Shacha Wangmo and Namgay Zam also submitted that a six-month medical leave be granted to the plaintiff as depression hampers mental health which is crucial during a judicial process.

Namgay Zam said that she is not satisfied with the submissions made by Sonam Phuntsho till now. “He speaks my name after every few minutes, but he doesn’t know the actual meaning of defamation, as he keeps talking about the property deal during the whole hearing,” she said.

Countering Namgay Zam, Sonam Phuntsho said she should prove how judges helped him win the case.

He also questioned what benefits she acquired by posting Dr Shacha Wangmo’s story on her Facebook page. “You speak like a trained parrot but need to prove with evidence,” he said.

Dr Shacha Wangmo submitted her rebuttal to Sonam Phuntsho’s 25 points which was mostly related to the property deal.

She also submitted that Sonam Phuntsho should compensate them if he fails to prove the charges.

She said they are victims of Sonam Phuntsho’s verbal assaults. “If we are outside, he may sexually assault us like he did other women, but we wouldn’t let him,” she said.

She said speaking the truth does not equate defamation.

The judge reminded both the parties to submit their evidence on November 15, keeping “defamation” in mind.

The evidence will be the most crucial hearing for both the parties after which the verdict will be passed.

Tashi Tenzin

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