The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) has charge sheeted the case, involving a 26-year-old woman from Sertena, Haa who had thrown her newborn baby from a corridor window on the third floor of a hotel in Phuentsholing, to the Phuentsholing Drungkhag court, on 6 August.
The horrendous incident took place on 15 April 2018, whereby a RBP patrolling team came across the body of the newborn baby at around 1:45 AM. The baby was found dead due to head injury and bleeding from the ears.
In connection to this, the accused woman has two charges against her in the court of law: a murder case and a rape of a child above 12 years of age case. OAG has charged the woman based on various evidences against her.
The woman worked as a sweeper in one of the schools in Haa. During the time of incident, the school officiating principal and a teacher were with her in the same hotel room. Initially, on 13 April 2018, the accused along with the officiating principal and the teacher were travelling from Sertena to Samtse, and due to bad weather conditions, they had spent the night at Duenchukha, Samtse in a house belonging to the officiating principal’s friend.
On 14 April, they started their journey towards Phuentsholing from Samtse, whereby at around 6:30 PM they checked into a hotel in Phuentsholing. The three of them booked only one room with triple beds. They were actually travelling to Haa as two men had to reach Haa for their election duties, whereas the accused woman was travelling to Haa to make her service book.
OAG said that since there is no road connectivity to Haa from Sertena, they had to travel to Haa via Samtse and Phuentsholing. It would otherwise take 13 hours of risky walk to reach their destination.
On 14 April at around 11:30 PM, hiding from the two men, the accused gave birth to a baby boy in the toilet, whereby she quietly wrapped the newborn in a towel, went to the third floor of the hotel building to throw away the newborn baby from the corridor window. The accused then washed the towel and left it drying in the toilet, and she also managed to clean the toilet. Initially, their room was in first floor, OAG said.
The police patrolling team came across the body of the newborn on the road between the hotel and a private apartment building at around 1:45 AM on 15 April. Thereafter, the investigation team started their search in both the buildings, and later discovered a blood stain on the corridor window from the third floor of the hotel, OAG said.
OAG said that the team then came across the two men and one woman sharing the same room from which the smell of blood was discovered. When asked on the spot, the accused denied committing the crime.
Only after a medical checkup in the hospital did the woman confess to the crime. “However, she claimed that the baby was born dead,” OAG added.
Nevertheless, after doing a ‘Lung Floating Test’, the hospital came to a conclusion that the newborn must have been born alive. After a thorough research, investigation and as per medical jurisprudence, it was learnt that the baby was indeed born alive.
“While doing the test, the lung of the infant floated in water, which indicates that he was born alive, otherwise if it was a still birth, the lungs sink in the water,” OAG stated.
Meanwhile, OAG said that the officiating principal and the teacher claimed that they were not aware of her giving birth, and that they were into deep sleep after three days of continuous journey.
After a series of interrogation, it was learnt that the accused woman had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old student in the school since 2016. It was also learnt that she had aborted a child from the same relationship in 2016 by taking abortion pills.
OAG said, “Since his parent were against the relation, they met hiding from them during summer vacation in 2017, and confessed to again having had sexual intercourse. Moreover, in the winter vacation, the accused shared to him about her period being missed for three months.”
However, OAG said that they are yet to wait for the DNA result to ascertain the real father of the baby. For now, the officiating principal and teacher are sent on bail.
OAG said that since the probable father of the baby was just 17 years old in 2016, the accused will be charged for rape of a child above 12 years of age.
As per the Penal Code of Bhutan 2004, Section 138 states that a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of murder, if the defendant commits a homicide knowingly and deliberately; with premeditated malice and the offence of murder shall be a felony of the first degree as per Section 139 of the Act.
Likewise, as per Section 183 of the PCB 2004, a defendant shall be guilty of the offence of rape of a child above the age of twelve years, if the defendant has sexual intercourse with a child between the age of twelve to eighteen years.
In addition, the offence of rape of a child above the age of twelve years shall be a felony of the third degree as per Section 184 of the Act.
Although she will be charged under the two sections, however, OAG has appealed to the court for an additional crime, under Section 7 (a) of PCB 2004, which states that life imprisonment shall be awarded to the defendant; in case of a felony of the first degree comprising of murder, treason or terrorism.