January 14, 2016 By Hassan Gbassay Koroma
The presiding magistrate at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.2, Albert J. Moody, yesterday committed to the High Court of Sierra Leone a case involving one Henrietta Khatty in respect of child stealing, and discharged three other accused persons for want of evidence.
Henrietta Khatty, Fuad Sorie Kamara, James Tamba Jr. and Gibril Badamasie were arraigned on three counts of conspiracy, child stealing and forgery contrary to the laws of Sierra Leone.
The prosecution had alleged that on Sunday, 21 December, 2014 the quartet conspired with some unknown individuals to steal a child at Ward 3 of the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) at Fourah Bay Road in Freetown.
In his committal address, Magistrate Moody said according to evidence adduced, one Niema Kailondo was supposed to have been on duty but the first accused stood in her stead, while an unknown nurse or suspect nurse entered and took the child away, purporting that she was taking the child to the Ebola ward.
He said the unknown suspect took the child away while first accused Henrietta Khatty and her supervisor, who was not charged, were on duty in the same ward. He noted that the defence of the first accused was that she had gone to the toilet when the unidentified nurse entered and took the child away, along with one Batu who was sleeping beneath the bed of the child’s mother.
He noted that the supervising nurse had left PCMH long ago and fled the jurisdiction.
“The question is why was the supervising nurse not charged along with the others? Is it due to bad policing or the supervising suspect in question is too smart for the law enforcers? I thought it is both and I also conclude she is a principal suspect in the matter who was left out unfortunately,” said Magistrate Moody.
“After hearing the preliminary investigation witnesses and exhibit tendered, I have come to the conclusion that the first accused is fit to be put on trial before the High Court and so order the second, third and fourth accused are discharged,” ruled the magistrate.