According to the records, the Office of Attorney General (OAG) received 870 cases in total from the Royal Bhutan Police (RBP) in 2018 which comprises of different criminal offenses. Of the total cases received by OAG, 296 cases were closed, 1 was deferred, 9 were diverted, 506 are ongoing and 59 were reviewed and returned or dropped.
The highest case received in 2018 by OAG for the prosecution was illicit trafficking of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances with 201 cases followed by 124 cases for battery. Only one harassment case was received.
An official from OAG said that of the total cases received in 2018, Thimphu Dzongkhag forwarded the highest with 326 cases and Phuentsholing police station forwarded the second highest with 107 cases in 2018.
He also said that RBP in Gasa did not have a single case for the prosecution, while Trashiyangtse forwarded one case. He said that, though the illicit trafficking of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is on the top in 2018, there is a decrease in the number of prosecution from 284 cases in 2017. “There is decrease by 83 cases in 2018,” he added.
He also said that there were times when the case forwarded to OAG had to be dropped, at times diversion of a case took place and some cases had to be deferred.
He said, “If a particular case has all the required evidence, we then prosecute the case, or else we will drop the case. We are yet to ascertain which case is being dropped the most. “
In addition, he also said that case diversion is done only when the child is in conflict with the law whereby the child will not be taken to the court. However, he said that there are numerous criteria to divert the case under the child protection act.
“The child should not be having any past criminal record (conviction), the child should be between 12 to 18 years of age, they should agree with the terms and condition in the agreement, both the suspect and victim should agree and come to one conclusion, etc. Only then the case can be diverted”, he added.
Nevertheless, if the child suspect has committed any heinous crime than the diversion of the case won’t be allowed, he said.
When it comes to challenges, he said that during the prosecution of case related to illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances they do not face much of difficulty because it is easy to prove as the number of drugs has been quantified. However, he said that fighting against drugs is always a challenge.
“However, we somehow have a security challenge, in a sense that the prosecutors are always associated with the risk as we have to deal with criminal cases,” he added.
He also said that there are some cases where they have appealed to the court to satisfy the judgment. “We have the right to appeal to the court if the final judgment doesn’t satisfy us and we can go up to Supreme Court,” he added.