Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Court Orders Mentally Ill Murder Suspect To Be Detained In Solitary Confinement

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By Kebba Secka

The High Cout in Banjul presided over by Justice Zainab Jawara Alami on Monday 04th November, ordered the Minister of Health to detain accused Abubacarr Bah at the Tanka Tanka facility or any other place appointed for the confinement of such person until he is found mentally fit to stand trial. Bah is alleged to have caused the death of two of his fellow patients at the Tanka Tanka Psychiatric Hospital. Furthermore, the Court ordered that the Minister of Health be served the order for an immediate action.

Justice Jawara Alami said the accused, a Tanka Tanka patient, was brought before the Court with an amended charge of two counts of murder contrary to section 187 of the Criminal Code. The particulars of the offence states that the accused person on the 25th of February, 2019 at Tanka Tanka Psychaitric Hospital hit Jerome Jatta and Esaa Waggeh with a log resulting to their death. The Court said based on the report, it received on the matter under trial, the accused person is to be medically examined. The Court said the first report it received came from Tanka Tanka psychiatric Hospital of the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul dated August 6, 2019. In the report, the accused is diagnosed with stable substance misuse disorder with psychiatric symptoms. The Court said the report concluded that the accused person should continue to take his medication in order to be able to stand trial.

Another medical evaluation report of the Tanka Tank Psychiatric Hospital dated 28 of October, 2019 was submitted to the Court by the prison authorities. This report according to the court concluded that the accused had relapsed psychiatric disorder (schizophrenia ) with substance misuse and has no capacity to continue his judicial hearing at the moment. The Court said it has also observed that the accused’s behaviour in Court are signs that he needs psychiatric treatment which he would not be able to obtain if detained in a State Central Prisons.

When the case resumed before Justice Alami, lawyer O. Susso from the legal Aid announced his appearance for the accused while A. A Ceesay from the Attorney General’s Chambers represented the state.
Case is adjourned till further notice.

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