The Blantyre Magistrate’s Court yesterday granted bail to two women accused of assaulting a nurse at Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH) on February 17 this year.
The two women—Esnart Selemani, 53, and her daughter Yankho, 30—are alleged to have assaulted 26-year-old Gertrude Moffat in Ward 5A after she had asked them to leave because guardians were not allowed due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Ruling on a bail application yesterday, Blantyre senior resident magistrate Akya Mwanyongo said keeping the two women in custody further would be tantamount to pre-trial punishment.
The magistrate granted the duo bail on condition that they surrender their travel documents to the court, report to Blantyre Police Station officer-in-charge fortnightly on Fridays, provide a reliable surety of K100 000 each (non-cash) and pay K50 000 cash bail bond each.
Before the magistrate delivered his ruling, the State paraded its final three witnesses and closed its case. The State had earlier also paraded three health care workers as its witnesses.
In her testimony, Loyce Chaweza, who was a guardian in Ward 5A at the time of the alleged incident and was yesterday paraded as the State’s fourth witness, said Moffat was treating her son Adam, who was admitted to the facility on the material day.
She told the court that her son’s condition had worsened; hence, needed the nurses’ attention. She further told the court that when Moffat came in to assist, she noticed the presence of the two women and that one of them was not wearing a face mask.
Chaweza said Moffat asked the women how they found themselves in the ward when Covid-19 restrictions did not allow them to do so.
She said it was in the course of enquiring how they got into the ward that the two women got annoyed by Moffat’s statement that their presence could be a risk to both patients and guardians.
According to Moffat, the first accused, Esnart, charged and swore at her, then the second accused joined and started assaulting her. She said she called for help from nurses and other guardians who came to her rescue.
In the course of her testimony, police prosecutor Isaac Kadawayula also gave Chaweza a sketch map of the ward to illustrate how the incident happened.
The State’s fifth witness Mayamiko Bokosi, who is a medical doctor at QECH’s surgery department, said when she examined Moffat, she noticed that she had soft tissue injury and muscular pain on her lower back and neck.
She told the court that she prescribed medication and a three-day bed rest for Moffat.
The two women were charged with assault occasioning actual bodily harm contrary to Section 254 of the Penal Code.