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Three nurses at Serrekunda Health Centre arraigned, charged

Dec 30, 2013, 10:07 AM | Article By: Dawda Faye

Three nurses working at the Serrekunda Heath Centre, were on 24 December 2013 arraigned before Magistrate Tabally of the Kanifing Magistrates’ Court for alleged neglect of official duty and abuse of office.

Awa Beyai, Awa Sanneh and Ndey Ceesay denied the allegations.

The particulars of offence in count one stated that on 17 November 2013, at Serrekunda Health Centre in the Kanifing Municipality, the accused persons employed in the public service as nurses and by virtue of that employment, neglected their official duty by failing to pay attention to a pregnant woman in the name of Isatou Sambou, which led to delivery of her baby in the street, and thereby committed an offence.

Count two stated that on the same date and place, the accused persons, while employed in the public service as nurses, abused their office by failing to attend to a pregnant woman in the person of Isatou Sambou, which was prejudicial to her right.

The prosecuting officer, Inspector Touray, rose and applied for an adjournment and objected to the granting of bail to the accused persons, because there was an ongoing investigation.

He addd that they needed the consent of the Attorney General’s Chambers for the accused persons to be prosecuted on count two.

He added that if the accused persons were granted bail, they would tamper with the investigation because the witnesses who would be called to testify would be coming from the Serrekunda Health Centre, and they would interfere with them.

He urged the court to grant his application.

Defence counsel Lamin S. Camara and Edward Singhateh represented the first and second accused persons. Lawyer Kebba Sanyang represented the third accused person.

In response to the prosecution’s application, Kebba Sanyang said that he was speaking on behalf of the accused persons. He stated that he was not objecting to the adjournment of the case. He said that on the issue of bail, it was trite law that the accused persons were presumed innocent until proven guilty, adding that the offences were misdemeanors, and are bailable offences.

Counsel further said that it was more than a month since the accused persons were alleged to have committed the offences, and they were granted bail by the police.

“Once a case is presented before the court, that is the end of the investigation,” he told the court.

He argued that this was why the prosecution prepared the charge sheet, adding that this showed that the prosecution had finished the investigation. He said since 17 November 2013, the accused were on bail by the police.

“This is mockery of justice,” he said, and that the courts are here to uphold the rights of accused persons, and they are supposed to enjoy their rights.

He urged the court to grant the accused persons bail, adding that the accused persons had never been in conflict with the law.

As regards count two, he applied for it to be struck out because it had been filed without the consent of Attorney General’s Chambers. He urged the court to strike out count two because it was incompetent.

In his ruling, Magistrate Tabally said the offences were bailable and the application made by the prosecution was not reasonable to warrant the accused to be remanded in custody. He struck out count two.

The magistrate granted the accused persons bail each in the sum of D100,000 with one Gambian surety, who should swear to an affidavit of means and deposit their ID cards with the court.

The case was adjourned to 20 January 2014, for hearing.