After a prolonged legal battle spanning 15 months, national cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane has been convicted of rape by the Kathmandu District Court.
Legal Journey and Court’s Determination
The court, led by Judge Shishir Raj Dhakal, found Lamichhane guilty of sexually assaulting Gushala-26 in a Tilganga hotel on August 21, 2022. The court’s decision was based on the acknowledgment of Lamichhane and the victim sharing the same hotel room, with the conviction falling under specific clauses of the Criminal Code Procedure.
Sentencing and Future Hearings
A January 10 hearing is set to determine the jail term for Lamichhane, as announced by district court registrar Ramu Sharma. The possible imprisonment under the invoked clause ranges between seven and ten years.
Legal Delays and Disputed Age
Legal proceedings faced considerable delays, initiating only recently despite the victim filing the case in September 2022. The court dismissed the victim’s claim of being a minor, determining her age as 18 at the time of the incident based on various records.
Reactions and Appeals
Rights activists expressed mixed sentiments, welcoming Lamichhane’s conviction but expressing dissatisfaction with the determination of the victim’s age. Lamichhane retains the right to appeal the decision at the high court and the Supreme Court, allowing him to avoid immediate arrest.
Lamichhane’s Legal Saga
The cricketer’s legal saga began with his arrest in October 2022 upon returning from the West Indies. Despite an initial order for detention, Lamichhane secured release on bail in January 2023, albeit with travel restrictions. Subsequent appeals, including a successful plea to the Supreme Court, permitted him to travel abroad for cricket engagements.