OAG appeals to High Court asking for higher sentencing in Bjemina case

Office of Attorney General (OAG) appealed to high court on 4 January 2019 since they were not satisfied with the final judgment on Vice Principal Ugyen Wangchuk who was convicted for molesting 9 students and one attempt to rape in a charity school in Bjemina.

The final judgment on 20 December by the Family and Child bench, Thimphu sentenced the Vice Principal Ugyen Wangchuk to 10 years in prison.

The OAG initially charged Ugyen Wangchuk for 9 counts of child molestation and one count of criminal attempt to rape of a child above 12 years.

The OAG stated that, the Vice Principal Ugyen had been convicted for 5 years by the Trashigang Dzongkhag Court in 2004 for rape of a minor under section Ba- 2- 8 of Thrimzhung Chhenmo of Bhutan.

The Bjemina case was registered before the Thimphu District Court on 5 May 2018 and after completing all stages of hearing on 30th June 2018, judgment was rendered on 20th December 2018.

And as per the judgment, Ugyen Wangchuk was proven guilty for 9 counts of child molestation and convicted for 5 years.

He was also convicted for criminal attempt to rape and sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment, adding to serve 10 consecutive years from the date of arrest till 2028.

However, OAG said that, for protection of the public and in the best interest of children, OAG decided to appeal to the High Court and the grounds of appeal are based on two reasons.

OAG said that, the court has not taken into consideration his prior criminal conviction, although the offence he has committed is of the same nature.

Therefore, the sentencing for the present case should have been enhanced since it is the defendant’s second offence, said the OAG.

In addition, OAG also said that though all the 9 counts of child molestation has been proven beyond reasonable doubt, the sentence of imprisonment was awarded concurrent for all the 9 counts. i.e 5 years.

The nature of crime is such, he warrants consecutive sentencing for all 9 counts of child molestation. The OAG had asked for around 27 years sentencing.

The suspect was arrested on 6 April 2017 from Bjemina, Thimphu.

In the Bjemina case the Vice Principal openly molested the girl students of class VI.

In addition, one of the victims from the group said that the suspect tried to rape her in his office in 2017.

Some of the young class six girls even cried in court while recounting the horrors of what they had been through.

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