March 30, 2015 By Hawa Amara
A nurse and soldier, Henrietta Khatty and James Tamba Junior, respectively, plus two others, Fuad Sorie and Gibrill Badamasi, were yesterday remanded at the Male Correctional Centre and the former Special Court Female Correctional Centre after their arraignment for allegedly stealing a one-year-old boy while in custody of his mother, Sia Sesay.
The accused are standing trial at the Freetown Magistrates’ Court No.2 presided over by Magistrate Albert J. Moody on three counts of conspiracy to commit a felony, to wit child stealing, contrary to law; child stealing contrary to section 56 of the Offences Against the Persons Act of 1861; and forgery contrary to section 4(1) of the Forgery Act of 1913.
According to police prosecutor Inspector Michael Kelly Dumbuya, the accused – by means of fraud – took away a one-year-old boy with intent to deprive him from his mother. The incident allegedly happened at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital, east of Freetown, on 21 December, 2014.
The prosecution also alleged that first accused, Nurse Henrietta Khatty, an employee at the children’s hospital, on a date between 7 and 21 December, 2014, with intent to defraud, forged documents (ward three rooster and time sheet) which she purported to have been signed by one Neima Kailondo.
The accused persons are represented by M.P. Sesay, Emmanuel Teddy Koroma and A.K. Kamara.
Lead defence counsel E.T. Koroma applied for bail on behalf of the accused persons, stating that the offence they are standing trial for is bailable.
He pleaded with the magistrate to exercise his discretion in favour of the accused persons as they are gainfully employed at reputable institutions in the country.
He stated that the accused persons are not a flight risk and would not interfere with prosecution witnesses if granted bail.
But prosecutor Inspector Dumbuya informed the court that the complainant and witnesses were not notified the matter would be heard on Wednesday (March 24), and therefore were absent in court. He thus applied for a date to assemble his witnesses.
He also objected to bail on the grounds that the offence for which the accused persons are in court are very serious because it has to do with a human being, not least a child.
According to him, if granted bail, there is likelihood the accused persons would interfere with prosecution witnesses and or jump bail.
Accordingly, the magistrate refused bail and adjourned the matter to today.