Kathmandu, 31st December 2023: In a significant development, a single-judge bench of the Kathmandu District Court has pronounced cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane guilty of raping an 18-year-old woman. The court has set January 10 for the sentencing, signalling potential consequences for the athlete, including a possible jail term of up to 10 years. It has been clarified that the victim was not a minor at the time of the incident, contrary to earlier reports.
The legal proceedings against Lamichhane began in September of the previous year when he was the captain of Nepal’s cricket team. The Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) suspended him after an arrest warrant was issued in Kathmandu following a complaint filed at a local police station. Lamichhane, who was participating in the CPL 2022 with Jamaica Tallawahs at the time, was forced to leave the tournament immediately upon the issuance of the arrest warrant. Upon returning to Kathmandu in October, he was taken into custody.
Despite the ongoing legal battles, Lamichhane recently led PARSA Club XI to victory over Nepal Army Club in a Nepal Pro Club Championship match in Birgunj on the day of his conviction.
Lamichhane had previously faced controversy upon rejoining the Nepal cricket team in February of the following year for a Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series at home against Namibia and Scotland. Rights groups protested his return, and during the series, no player from the opposing team shook his hand at any stage. Although not initially selected for Nepal’s squad in the Cricket World Cup League 2 tri-series in Dubai in early 2023, Lamichhane later joined as an injury replacement. He has continued to play for Nepal, participating in events such as the ODI World Cup qualifier in Zimbabwe and the ODI Asia Cup.
The verdict has prompted Lamichhane’s legal team to express their intention to appeal the decision to a higher court, setting the stage for further legal proceedings in the high-profile case. The outcome of the sentencing on January 10 will be closely watched by cricket enthusiasts and the public alike.