Bakau murder suspect freed
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Justice Emmanuel Nkea of the Special Criminal Court in Banjul yesterday, Monday, 16th April 2012 acquitted and discharged one Fatoumatta Drammeh of Bakau of murder charge.
The accused, Fatoumatta Drammeh was alleged to have unlawfully caused the death of her newly born baby girl on the 19th May 2011 at Bakau Secka Kunda, Wassulung in the Kanifing Municipality.
Delivering judgment yesterday, the presiding judge disclosed that the prosecution called four witnesses and tendered three exhibits. The judge narrated the evidence adduced by the prosecution witnesses amongst whom, was the accused person’s mother (PW3) and the nurse at the Bakau Health Centre, Kebba Sonko (PW4).
According to the evidence, the accused lived with her mother in the same house and on the day of the incident, the accused person’s mother went to the farm, returned and found the accused delivered a baby with umbilical cord round the neck of the baby. It was disclosed that PW3, the accused person’s mother accompanied the accused to Bakau Health Centre, where PW4 Kebba Sonko examined the baby and found that the baby was dead.
On her part, the accused relied on her cautionary statement, which disclosed that she was seven months pregnant when she delivered the baby dead through her legs and found the umbilical cord round the neck. Both the prosecution and the defence waived their right to address the court and the matter was adjourned for judgment.
Justice Nkea disclosed that in proving the charge preferred against the accused, certain elements (ingredients); such as there was death; that the death was unlawful; and that there was malice afterthought amongst others must be established by the prosecution.
Justice Nkea further disclosed that in every criminal trial, the burden of proof lies on the prosecution to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt, adding that if there is a doubt, it must be resolved in favour of the accused.
Justice Nkea indicated that there was no dispute that the newly born baby was born dead at the time of delivery. Justice pointed out that the evidences of PW3 and PW4 and the accused proved that the baby was dead at the time of delivery. Justice Nkea further pointed out that in the instant case, the prosecution did not lead any evidence that the baby was born alive.
The presiding judge remarked that the entire trial revolves around the evidence of PW4, Kebba Sonko who under cross-examination denied allegation that he never said the accused was responsible for the death of her baby.
Justice Nkea revealed that the pathological report was very clear about the issue. He noted that the fact that the accused delivered in the toilet with no ante-natal history had no inferences on the baby that was delivered dead with her legs and umbilical cord around the neck, adding that the death was natural and unassisted; that the fact that the baby did not cry and her eyes closed showed that the baby was delivered dead.
Justice Nkea advised the accused to immediately register with antenatal care if she gets pregnant again and she was therefore acquitted and discharged accordingly.
Author: Sidiq Asemota