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Nurses’ case suffers setback

Nov 10, 2014, 11:15 AM | Article By: Dawa Faye

The case involving Awa Beyai, Awa Sanneh and Ndey Ceesay, nurses at the Serrekunda Health Centre who were charged with abuse of office and neglecting their official duty, could not proceed on 6 November 2014, before Magistrate Tabally of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court.

The case was earlier adjourned to 9 October 2014, for ruling, following the reply made by ASP Mballow on 25 September 2014, to lawyer Camara’s no-case submission on behalf of Awa Beyai and Awa Sanneh.

Lawyer Kebba Sanyang had already made a no-case submission on behalf of Ndey Ceesay.

On at least two occasions, the ruling could not be made by Magistrate Tabally because he was indisposed.

In his no-case submission, lawyer Camara told the court that the prosecution had failed to make a prima facie case.

He said for the prosecution to succeed, it must have adduced evidence to prove elements of the offence charged.

He argued that Awa Beyai and Awa Sanneh did not abdicate their responsibilities as nurses of Serrekunda Heath Centre on 17 November 2013, when the complainant, Isatou Sambou, walked in to seek assistance.

He further submitted that the prosecution must demonstrate that the accused persons deliberately failed to attend to the complainant, in abuse of their office.

Lawyer Camara added that the prosecution’s evidence was manifestly discredited, and no reasonable court could rely on it to convict the accused.

He urged the court to discharge and acquit them.

ASP Mballow, the prosecuting officer, who took over the case from Chief Inspector Touray, did not agree with defence lawyer Camara.

He said the accused persons should be called to enter their defence, adding that the prosecution had presented the essential elements of the offence charged.

He argued that the law is very clear as regards the functions of the accused persons.

He submitted that the accused persons have a duty under the Nurses and Midwifery Act.

“It is the duty of the accused persons not to tell a pregnant woman to find her way and not attend to her,” ASP Mballow argued.

ASP Mballow further stated that Isatou Sambou, the complainant, said she met the accused persons, who having seen an antenatal card and knowing that it was a priority case, told her to go to Serrekunda Hospital on her own.

A few minutes later, the helpless Isatou Sambou delivered in the streets, and was re-escorted into the health center by some women.

“The hospital is equipped with an ambulance. We submit that the prosecution had presented a prima facie case that the accused neglected and did not perform their duties in exhausting all the remedies to attend to the complainant,” Mballow told the court.

He further argued that there were facilities that could have been used by the accused to help Isatou, but they failed to do so, adding that it was Isatou’s right to enjoy these facilities.

He urged the court to ask the accused to enter their defence.

The case was again adjourned to 20 November 2014, for the ruling.

In another development, the case involving ActionAid has been adjourned to 18 November 2014, for Lamin Nyangado to continue his testimony.