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Published On: Wed, Apr 24th, 2024

EFSTH To Determine Kumba Sinyan’s Mental Health

Presiding Judge Justice Sidi Jobarteh, in the case of Kumba Sinyan vs The State ordered for the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH) to medically examine the accused (Kumba Sinyan) in order to ascertain if she is fit for trial.

The judge gave this order following the motion filed by the accused person’s lawyer sagarr Twum who told the court that she is filing the motion in order for an order to be given for a professional mental health or psychiatric evaluation to be provided in order to assess the mental or psychological state of the accused.

Dawda Sowe the legal Clerk at Harriet Martha (H.M) N’dow Law Chamber who made the affidavit in support of motion to the application filed highlighted that he is familiar with the case and was informed by Counsel Twum that on Sunday the 14th day of April, 2024, around the hours of 3pm, a day before the last adjourned date when the Accused Person was scheduled to give testimony in her Defence in her ongoing trial for Murder, she visited the Accused at the Mile Two Central Prisons as part of ongoing preparations for her said Defence.

“On Monday the 15th day of April, 2024, around the hours of 10am, she paid the Accused Person another visit a few hours before her trial. When the Accused Person was brought out of the female wing by the prison officers, she informed her that she had difficulty sleeping the previous night. She further stated that she was experiencing migraines and dizziness and was therefore not feeling well.

“The Accused Person was subsequently escorted to the prison infirmary by the prison officers in her presence where she was attended to and a medical note issued thereafter with the diagnosis that due to her aforementioned symptoms, she was advised to rest.

“Following this prognosis, she has also been informed by the Medics at the Mile Two infirmary who have been offering counselling to the Accused Person that she is in a volatile statepsychologically. The Medics further indicated that the Accused Person is also showing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and therefore she may not be fit to stand trial.

“As a result, they recommended that a psychiatric evaluation be carried out on the Accused Person as a matter of urgency by a qualified mental health professional in addition to ongoing psychosocial support.

f) She believes that the Accused Person does not have access to essential mental health services at the Mile Two Prisons by qualified professionals which she has a right to since these are not available at the Mile Two Prisons.

“She believes that this psychiatric assessment is necessary to further evaluate and determine her mental state and whether she is fit to enter into her defence, give evidence, further participate in the trial and under what circumstances.

“She further believes that it is necessary to determine the following issues in the trial

whether she requires any kind of medical treatment and/or psychosocial support and if so, what treatment is required, where and when the treatment will be administered;

ii. whether Mile Two Prisons is a suitable place of detention for the Accused Personiii. whether the Accused Person needs special measures to assist her to give evidence and

freely participate in the trial;

“She believes that the Accused Person’s psychological health is relevant to her defence and the entire trial and to the just determination of the Accused Person’s culpability to the charge and she therefore urges this Hon. Court to grant this application in the interest of justice.

That I make these statements to the best of my knowledge, information and belief. He noted.

Counsel Twum further told the court that the state was served with the motion, to that the state responded that they have been served but they object to the motion filed by the defense on the grounds that there is no facts provided by the defense to show that the accused is not of sound mind to stand trial.

To that Counsel Twum told the court that the state counsel misunderstood her as all she is asking is that since the court does not have the expertise to determine if the accused is of sound mind to stand trial or not hence she wishes for the court to grant their application.

Counsel Sidi Jobarteh in her ruling highlighted that the Counsel to the Accused Person has made an Application for the Accused to be medically examined to ascertain if she is fit, for trial. Once such an Application made, to clear any doubt and for the interest of justice, it is provident to grant the application. 

She further said the court cannot in the circumstance to clear the assertions made unless the Accused is medically examined and due to these reasons she hereby grants the application, in the circumstance.

“The Accused Person should be taken to Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital forthwith to ascertain if she is fit to enter her defence. The report shall be submitted directly to the Court. By this order, the Director of Prisons and the Chief Medical Director of Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital are duly notified.” She noted.

The case is adjourned to Tuesday 14th May 2024 for mention at 11:00am.

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