April 1, 2015 By Hawa Amara
Mother of a missing baby, Sia Sesay, wept in court yesterday while testifying against four accused persons who are alleged to have stolen her new born baby boy at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) in Freetown.
The accused persons, Henrietta Khatty – a nurse at the hospital, Fuad Sorie Kamara – a security guard at the hospital, James Tamba Junior – a soldier deployed at the hospital, and Gibril Badamasie – also a security guard at PCMH, were arraigned at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No. 1 on three counts of conspiracy contrary to law and child stealing contrary to section 56 of the Offences Against the Persons Act of 1861, and Forgery, contrary to section 10(1) of the Forgery Act of 1913.
According to police prosecutor Inspector Kelly Dumbuya, the accused persons conspired with other unknown persons to commit a felony, to wit child stealing, on Sunday, 21 December, 2014, at the PCMH in Freetown. The prosecution also alleged that the accused on the same date at the same hospital, by means of fraud, took away a day’s old baby boy with intent to deprive the mother of her baby.
While testifying, the disconsolate mother said she recognised the first accused, Henrietta Khatty, as the nurse who was on duty that day at her ward at the biggest maternity hospital in the country, but couldn’t identify the second, third and fourth accused persons.
She told the court that when she was admitted at the hospital on Sunday, 20 December, 2014, the first accused was on duty, and she delivered a bouncing baby boy the following day. She explained that after she had delivered she was bleeding and felt sick and dizzy before she later fell asleep.
In tears, she told the court that a nurse later woke her up and instructed that she go for an Ebola test, but she told her she was unable to walk, causing the nurse to take the baby for an Ebola test.
“I instructed my in-law Batu to follow the nurse with my baby and later in the company of a police officer, military officer and security guard, she came and informed me that they did not see the nurse again,” she told the court. “Batu told me that while they were going the nurse stopped her from entering into the ward but to wait at the door of the Ebola ward while she and the baby went into the ward, and that she waited for the nurse and baby but she could not see them and then decided to report the matter to me.”
The witness concluded that one of the soldiers told her to call her husband and inform him about the incident, which she did, adding that her husband subsequently came to the hospital before he went to the Eastern police station to make a statement.
She said police officers later came to the hospital and obtained a statement from her, but she has not seen her baby since that date.
The witness was cross-examined by defence counsel M.P. Sesay, who renewed his application for bail on behalf of the accused persons, but it was objected to by police prosecutor Inspector Kelly Dumbuya.
Magistrate Albert J. Moody refused granting bail to the accused and adjourned the matter to 2 April for further hearing.