Sainabou, 30 years old, was the last to be arrested. She was arrested on the 22ndof July 2022 upon her return from Senegal. Cherno Mbye, 24, and Kibily Dembelly, also 24, were arrested earlier than Sainabou. Cherno is her brother from the same mother and father while Kibily is her cousin brother.
They were first charged and arraigned before the Kanifing Magistrate’s Court but the matter was transferred to the high court. During the vacation, Sainabou and her brothers made an application for bail, but it was not successful. The vacation judge denied her bail.
By information dated 19th August 2022, the three accused persons were charged with manslaughter contrary to section 186 of the Criminal Code and Exposing Children contrary to section 210 of the same penal code.
The particulars of the offense stated that Sainabou Mbye, Cherno Mbye, and Kibili Dambelly, on or about 3rd July 2022 at Kanifing and diverse places in The Gambia, by an unlawful act, or omission, amounting to culpable negligence, left a two-year-old boy resident of Brusubi inside a car, which caused his death. When they were arraigned, the Accused Persons pleaded guilty to the charges.
Prosecution Witness One was Jankey Manneh, a police officer. The witness testified that she was assigned by her supervisor Jally M.I. Senghore to obtain caution and voluntary statements of Sainabou Mbye. She testified that the statement was collected at the Police Headquarters in Banjul. Manneh said before the statements of Sainabou were recorded, she asked whether she would feel comfortable to give her statement in that environment and Sainabou Mbye responded in the positive, then her cautionary and voluntary statements were recorded and the contents were read to her in Wolof in the presence of an independent witness. The Independent Witness, according to Manneh, was one Babucarr Colley, a resident of Tabokoto. Manneh said the statements were endorsed by both Sainabou Mbye and Babucarr Colley. The statements were Exhibit P1 and P2 were tendered through her. She said Sainabou was charged after recording her statement and reading it over to her in a language that she understood.
Prosecution Witness Two was Samba Mballow, also a Police Officer. She testified that he was assigned by his supervisor to obtain cautionary and voluntary statements of Kibily Dembelly. He also stated that the statements were obtained in the presence of an independent witness. He said Kibily Dembelly was speaking to him in Fula and the content of the statements were translated to him in Fula in the presence of an independent witness. He added that Kibily Dembelly signed the statements after understanding the contents of the statements. Exhibits P3 and P4 were tendered through him.
Prosecution Witness Three (3) was Jally M.I. Senghore, an Assistant Superintendent of Police. He testified that on the 20th July 2022, the Police Headquarters received a case file from the Bundung Serious Crime Unit with two accused persons – Cherno Mbye and Kibily Dembelly while Saiinnabou Mbye was in Dakar, Senegal. He said upon receipt of the file, Cherno and Kibily were interviewed. He explained that he was the one who took Cherno Mbye’s statement in the presence of an independent witness. Exhibits P5 and p6 were both tendered through him.
Prosecution Witness Four was one Bakary Dibba, an Assistant Superintendent of Police. He testified that he interviewed Cherno and Kibly, who both gave a narration of the circumstances of the death of the Deceased. He said the police made a thorough investigation of the alleged crime scene. He explained that a team of five (5) policemen including crime scene investigators and forensic experts did the reconstruction of the scene based on the narration of Cherno and Kibily. Thereafter, a sketch plan marked exhibits 7A, 7B, and 7C was drawn to give a clue and actual picture of the alleged crime. Dibba said their investigation revealed that the vehicle bearing registration number BJL 992 Q belongs to Sainabou Mbye. The sketch plans were tendered through Witness Dibba.
Prosecution Witness Five (5) was one Adama Bojang of Brusubi who testified that on the day of the incident she was seated outside at her compound gate at Brusubi Phase One (1). She testified that while she was seated there, a black vehicle arrived and she saw Sainabou Mbye and Kibily Cherno Mbye together with two children (girls) alighting from the said vehicle, closed the doors of the vehicle and Cherno Mbye greeted her. She said she went inside the compound and after a long while, she heard some noise outside of her house. She stated that she rushed to the scene and saw Kibily Dembelly holding the Deceased (Baby Muhammed) and crying for help. She also testified that when she arrived at the scene, she found the body of the Deceased child wet. She stated that when she enquired what caused the noise, she was informed that the Accused Persons forgot the Deceased in the vehicle. Adama said that thereafter she held the Deceased from Kibily Dembelly and ran with him into the newly rented house of Sainabou Mbye through the small gate. She said upon entering the premises, she found Sainabou Mbye talking on the phone.
Prosecution Witness Six (6) was Fatou Ngoneh Mbye, the mother of the deceased child. She said she is a student and mentioned that she shares the same mother and father with both Sainabou and Cherno, but Kibily is the son of her aunt. She testified that on the day of the incident she was in Sinchu with all of the three accused persons together with the two daughters of Sainabou and her late son, Baby Muhammed. She said they were packing to move to their new rented apartment in Brusubi. After they finished loading the first trip, Fatou said the three accused persons (Sainabou, Cherno and Kibily) entered Sainabou’s black Nissan vehicle together with Sainabou’s two daughters and the Deceased child, Baby Muhammed. Fatou said she stayed behind to wait for the second trip because she was supposed to gather the remaining materials ahead of the second (final) trip.
Fatou said Cherno was the driver, Sainabou was seated in the front seat while Kibily and Sainabou’s two daughters and the Deceased child were seated in the back seat. She pointed out that the late child was seated right behind Sainabou Mbye while Sainabou’s two daughters were seated in the middle and Kibily was sitting right behind the driver, Cherno.
Fatou testified that only Cherno and Kibily came back for the second trip in a small vehicle along with the truck that was used to carry their materials. She said after loading the truck, Fatou said she joined the small vehicle while Kibily joined the truck. She explained that on their way to Brusubi their vehicle was stopped by the police while the truck proceeded to Brusubi. She testified that from the police they proceeded to Brusubi, but upon arrival, they found a crowd at their newly rented house. Then she saw a woman carrying her son (the Deceased) in her hands. She testified that the Deceased was unconscious and his clothes were also wet as a result she began crying. She also stated that the Deceased was rushed to Afrimed by Sainabou and Cherno while they left her crying. She said she came to know about her son’s passing on the 8th of July.
Prosecution Witness Seven (7) was Dr. Edel Castellsanos, a general comprehensive consultant at the Afrimed International Hospital, Gambia. he said he has been a medical doctor for 30 years and a consultant for 25 years. He testified that he has been with the hospital for a year. He said he was the one who attended to the Deceased when he was brought to their hospital.
He said on the day the nurse in the medicine ward called his attention to inform him about a child they received who was in a critical condition. Dr. Edel said when he came to the ward he was informed that the child was locked in a vehicle for about four hours. Thereafter, the Doctor said he conducted an examination on the child by checking the vital signs and found that the child had severe respiratory distress. He testified that the pulse of the child was 22 when in a normal child around two years the pulse should be 100 to 120. He said the pulse of the child was very low. He also testified that the oxygen saturation level of the child was 60 when the normal level was above 90 and also the temperature of the child was 38.5 degrees. Doctor Edel said after this he administered five (5) liters of oxygen and adrenaline and 5% of 250 milliliters of dextus and 150 milligrams of paracetamol. He testified that adrenaline increases heart contraction and oxygen in the brain. He said the child suffered from hypoxia which is usually caused by a lack of good oxygen. He said after attending to the child, he referred him to Banjul in an ambulance.