The Point (Banjul)

Gambia: CID Officer Testifies in Four Nurses Trial

Momodou L. Jallow, a detective officer attached to the Brikama police station was the fourth prosecution witness to testify in the trial involving four nurses at the Brikama health centre before magistrate Dayoh Small of the Brikama magistrates' court.

The accused persons Ensa Jarju, Ndey Touray, Adama Danso and Fatou Sonko, were charged with three counts of rash or negligent conduct, giving false information and official corruption.

In his testimony, officer Jallow told the court that on 24 November 2013, he was on duty at the Brikama CID office, when he received a complaint from one Binta Bah who said she went to the labour ward in Brikama health centre at around 7 pm to give birth.

Binta told him that she gave birth on her own, and was not attended to by the accuse persons; and as a result, during the delivery, the baby fell on the floor and subsequently died.

The witness said he asked Mrs Bah about the baby, and the complainant said it was at home, adding that he went with Bah and other officers to her house to see the dead baby.

At Binta's house, they found the dead body of her baby, and together with Mrs Bah and the officers proceeded to the Brikama health centre.

There, they told the nurse on duty that they needed a referral to the mortuary in Banjul, but the nurse said she could not do that because she was not on duty during the incident.

Officer Jallow further said they tried to find the one in charge of the health centre, who was the 1st accused person, Essa Jarju, who told him that the nurse will give him the referral he asked for.

They then moved the body to the mortuary at the hospital in Banjul, and went back to the labour ward to find out about the nurses who were on duty during the incident.

He said the name of the 2nd accused, Ndey Touray, was mentioned, and they contacted them by phone and invited them for questioning.

Officer Jallow told the court that the police put Mrs Bah's allegation to them, and they all denied it.

The nurses told the detective that they normally filled a form, which was used to monitor the patient, and Jallow said they demanded the form.

He said the accused persons were later released on bail and, on the following day, the 2nd accused came with the form.

After examining it, they found out that the information on it indicated that Binta Bah arrive at the labour ward at 5 pm as opposed to what the victim said.

Officer Jallow added that they asked them on which duties they were, and they said the night shift.

Jallow said the police also invited nurses on the afternoon shift for questioning, who denied receiving the patient. Statements were obtained from them.

The police prosecutor applied to tender the said document, but the defence counsel, LK Mboge, objected on the grounds that he applied for all the documents relating to the case, but the copies of the documents about to be tendered were not among. Counsel cited the Evidence Act.

In response, the prosecutor, Sub Inspector Sarr, said counsel only applied for copies of the statements, which had been done two weeks ago, and tendering the documents has nothing to do with that.

The trial magistrate ruled that, in the interest of justice, the documents in question were relevant to the case and he shall therefore admit and mark them as exhibits, and the weight to be attached to them shall be determined at the end of the trial.

He ordered the prosecutor to forward all the documents relating to the case to the defence counsel.

The case was adjourned at that state to 31 March 2014, for the continuation of witness testimony.

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