Court presents charges against Penjore in defamation case

The ‘Penjore Penjore’ sedition and defamation case against Penjore was dismissed by the Thimphu District Court on 18 July. But Penjore is again back in the court as he is charged with defaming the Office of Attorney General (OAG) by the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP).

Thimphu District Court Bench II presented the charges that have been submitted by the Royal RBP against Penjore on 23 November.

A RBP official, in an earlier interview, said that the court had dismissed the sedition case against Penjore, and so OAG reviewed and returned the investigation file to the RBP, saying that the prosecution for defamation is under the purview of RBP.

As per the chargesheet submitted by RBP to the court, the accused Penjore has accused OAG of not charging the Bhutan National Bank (BNB) officials for official misconduct during recruitment of 15 supporting staff in 2017, and forging documents to get them enrolled.

The chargesheet further states that Penjore on 4 May 2021 had posted several posts on his Facebook account. “Shocking Bigger Crime at the Bhutan’s OAG level- A guilty Secret Cheating Case through Collusion- A National Shame.” “DANGEROUS and greater corruption happening in the OAG.”  “Bhutan completely into NoW converting Bhutan as a complete lawless county in the eyes of the World….Monstrous Wrongdoing of OAG is not corrected immediately”, are some of the posts mentioned in the chargesheet copy.

“Such kinds of post may mislead the people and may create disharmony between the people and the country,” states the chargesheet, adding that the reputation of the office (OAG) will be impacted where the people’s trust would be lost at the same time.

Therefore, RBP has appealed to the court, stating that Penjore should be liable for defamation as per section 317 of the Penal Code of Bhutan (PCB) 2004, and to penalize him as per section 319 (b) of the same Act.

The section 319 (b) of the Act states that the offence of defamation shall be a petty misdemeanor (one month to less than one year imprisonment) and pay compensation to the aggrieved party for a minimum of one month and maximum of three years calculated in accordance with the daily minimum national wage rate, if the defamation includes any matter other than murder, armed robbery, terrorism or treason.

In addition, the chargesheet also states that the accused shall be charged under section 36 of PCB 2004, which states that a court may order a defendant to pay appropriate damages or reparation for any loss, injury, or deterioration caused to a victim.

Meanwhile, the accused Penjore will give his rebuttal on the charges made against him to the court on 13 December 2021.

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