In a solemn courtroom session, Honourable Justice Adrian Jocelyn Fisher delivered a verdict that sent shockwaves through the courtroom. Fatmata Kamara, accused of the heinous crime of throwing her newborn baby into a pit toilet, stood before the judge on trial for Murder, a charge to which she had initially pleaded not guilty. However, the prosecution later reduced the charge to Manslaughter.
The grim events unfolded on the 20th day of October in 2019 in Freetown, within the Western Area of the Republic of Sierra Leone. A newborn baby was discovered in a pit toilet, prompting concerned neighbors to rush to the scene after an alarm was raised by a woman named Kumba. Shockingly, the accused, Fatmata Kamara, was present at the scene but did not reveal that the abandoned newborn was her own child.
A vigilant police officer noticed blood on Kamara and swiftly took her into custody for further investigation. During police questioning, she made a chilling confession. Kamara explained that, while pregnant, she had gone to use the same pit toilet when the child unexpectedly emerged from her womb, falling into the pit. Incredibly, she failed to report the incident or raise an alarm.
Honourable Justice Fisher expressed his dismay at Kamara’s actions, especially considering that she was a mother of three. He found it deeply troubling that she had acted in such a heartless manner.
Kamara, in her statement to the Court, revealed her dissatisfaction with the pregnancy due to the fact that the father was a married man. She admitted to attempting various medications to terminate the pregnancy, all of which had failed.
Justice Fisher, however, found Kamara’s statement to be false, stating, “In a chilling manner, you told the police that you felt stomach pain and went to use the toilet, and at that stage, you felt the child coming out. You threw the placenta cord and pushed the baby into the pit toilet.”
The Judge emphasized that the newborn must have endured hours of distress and pain without food before finally being rescued. He described the victim as a defenseless newborn baby and condemned the act as a grave betrayal of trust between a mother and her own child.
Justice Fisher ultimately found Kamara guilty of Manslaughter, stating that the harm she had intended fell within the high spectrum of culpability. He sentenced her to twenty-four years in prison, taking into account the time she had already spent in custody.
This case was part of the Judicial Week initiative, supported by the UNDP, aimed at promoting justice and accountability within Sierra Leone’s legal system