Nepal's Sandeep Lamichhane acquitted of rape charges on appeal | Crickit
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Nepal's Sandeep Lamichhane acquitted of rape charges on appeal

May 15, 2024 07:43 PM IST

A two-judge panel of the Patan High Court ruled that Sandeep Lamichhane's sentence by Kathmandu District Court from January be thrown out.

Former Nepal captain Sandeep Lamichhane was cleared of all charges on Wednesday. Lamichhane, the premier cricketer from the country, was convicted by a lower court of raping an 18-year-old woman, but he made an appeal and was cleared of all the charges which were filed against him.

Nepali former national cricket captain Sandeep Lamichhane (L) is escorted by police outside the districtl court following his release on bail after three months in custody for sexual assault charges,(AFP)
Nepali former national cricket captain Sandeep Lamichhane (L) is escorted by police outside the districtl court following his release on bail after three months in custody for sexual assault charges,(AFP)

A two-judge panel of the Patan High Court ruled that Sandeep Lamichhane's sentence by Kathmandu District Court from January be thrown out.

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The victim, whose identity has been kept confidential, said she was sexually assaulted on Aug. 21, 2022. Lamichhane was arrested soon afterward and spent time in jail before being allowed out on bail while the case was heard in court.

At a very young age Lamichhane made a big name for himself as the spinner took part in several prominent cricket leagues across the globe including the biggest one - Indian Premier League where he played for Delhi Capitals in the past.

The leg-spinner was suspended as Nepal's captain and taken into custody after police issued an arrest warrant for him over the assault in 2022, and was later released on bail.

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Kathmandu district court sentenced him to eight years in jail in January and said he should also pay about $3,770 as a fine and compensation to the victim.

Lamichhane's lawyers said the High Court, Patan, concluding the hearing on his appeal set him free.

"He had to be cleared and the high court has set him free. He was not guilty," Sabita Bhadari Baral, a lawyer for the player told Reuters after the court verdict, details of which are yet to be released.

In 2022, when an arrest warrant in the case was first issued, Lamichhane initially failed to return from Jamaica, where he was playing in the Caribbean Premier League.

He was dismissed as national captain and arrested but Nepal lifted his playing ban after he was freed on bail.

Lamichhane consistently denied the charge against him and enjoyed strong public support despite the accusation.

"I am innocent and I will be indebted to those who believe and sympathize with my innocence," Lamichhane posted on Facebook this month.

A jubilant Lamichhane appeared at the court premises after the verdict. His supporters blew traditional musical pipes and beat drums to celebrate.

"We all know he is innocent so they have gathered here and united for his justice," said 21-year-old fan Asmita Chettri.

(With Agency Inputs)

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