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Crucial witness testifies in nurses’ trial

Apr 30, 2014, 10:27 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Adel Jatta, the second prosecution witness, testified yesterday in the trial involving Awa Beyai, Awa Sanneh and Ndey Ceesay, nurses at the Serrekunda health centre, before magistrate Tabally of the Kanifing magistrates’ court.

In her testimony, she told the court that she lives at New Jeshwang and is a petty trader. She knows the first prosecution witness, Isatou Sambou, a petty trader at New Life School around the Gambia Family Planning premises.

Jatta told the court that on 17 November 2013, she went to the market at Serrekunda, and proceeded to the Sandika.

She met with Isatou Sambou who hugged her, and started crying. Asked what happened, she told her that she went to the clinic and was sent away and asked to go to the Serrekunda Hospital in Kanifing, but could not proceed to the Serrekund Hospital on her own.

The witness said she then asked Isatou who accompanied her, and was told she came with her aunt and father.

When Isatou’s aunt came, the aunt narrated the same story Isatou told her.

The witness said she was outside the health centre, when she was talking to Isatou’s aunt.

She then advised Isatou’s aunt that, if they could not get a vehicle from the health centre, they should go to Westfield to get a taxi to proceed to the Serrekunda Hospital.

They told her that they had no money, and she told them that she would give them the money she had with her to buy some goods, so that they could proceed to the Serrekunda Hospital.

Isatou then suddenly asked her to help her, and told her that the baby was coming out.

As she helped Isatou, the baby fell down, the witness further told the court.

When she was about to release her grip from Isatou, a lady came and used her scarf to cover the baby, and rushed into the health centre.

Isatou told her that the placenta had come out, and when she was about to put it in a plastic bag, some women gave her something to put it in.

She said they lifted Isatou and put her on a wheel-chair, which was brought by two other ladies from the health centre.

They took Isatou to the labour room, and Isatou delivered the second baby in the labour room, while she was still on the wheel-chair.

The nurses, Awa Beyai and Awa Sanneh, who were on duty, just sat down, not attending to Isatou, the witness told the court.

They then called the nurses, and told them that Isatou had delivered another baby, and appealed to them to help her.

In reply, the nurses asked them to help Isatou on their own.

At this juncture, she was asked to identify the nurses, and told the court that they were in court.

She then pointed at Awa Beyai and Awa Sanneh, who were in the dock.

The witness narrated that when they begged the nurses to help Isatou, they were told that Isatou had diseases, and this was why they decided not to attend to her.

Defence lawyer Lamin S. Camara, who was representing Awa Beyai and Awa Sanneh, objected and said this was hearsay.

He urged the court to expunge the statement.

The prosecuting officer, Inspector Touray, said the statement was not hearsay, because it was utterred by the nurses.

He urged the court to overrule the objection.

Magistrate Tabally upheld the objection, and expunged the statement.

The witness continued her testimony, and told the court that while they were begging the nurses to help Isatou and remove the second baby from the wheel-chair, another woman came with the other baby.

Awa Sanneh then took the second baby, but did not attend to Isatou, the witness added.

She further stated that they took Isatou from the wheel-chair and placed her on the bed.

Later, when she went out of the premises, some women held her since she looked confused, and told her to take the matter to the police, but she told them she was going to wait and see if Isatou would survive.

The witness added that some women then reported the matter to the police, when police arrived, and called Awa Beyai, Isatou, Isatou’s aunt and the witness herself into a room.

They were asked to narrate what happened, which they did.

She said Awa Beyai begged them not to involve them in trouble, before the arrival of a man in a pick-up, who asked them to get into the room.

She testified further that Awa Beyai was put in the pick-up vehicle, and they boarded the ambulance to the Serrekunda Hospital.

Isatou was then admitted at the Serrekunda Hospital. Later, they were taken to Banjul, where Isatou was admitted, checked and given some medication.

Isatou spent a week at the hospital, and was discharged.

Defence lawyer Lamin S. Camara cross-examined the witness, after her evidence-in-chief testimony.

Another defence lawyer, Kebba Sanyang, said he has no questions for the witness on behalf of the third accused, Ndey Ceesay.

The case was then adjourned to 8 May 2014, for the hearing to continue.