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Pregnant Woman Collapses After Court Sentence 

By Francis Tim Mbom — A certain Mrs. Pauline Andong Anyangwe collapsed at the Limbe Magistrate Court, Thursday, August 27, after she was slammed a six-month jail sentence.
According to her Counsel, Barrister Abraham Tereku Njioro, Pauline Andong had been accused of having connived with some gendarmerie officers who helped her to escape from lawful custody.

A few minutes after Magistrate Theophilus Tatsi sentenced her, Mrs. Andong was lying on the Court’s veranda, surrounded by some women who tried to give her aid. Some lawyers who had jammed the Court premises looked upset by the ruling. “No! Given this woman’s prenatal state, the Magistrate would have even handed her a suspended sentence,” one of the lawyers argued.

Barrister Njioro told The Post later that he had immediately filed a notice of appeal against the ruling at the Registry of the Limbe Court. He condemned the ruling saying the Court had acted based on rumours and not on grounds of justice. Njioro said the accusation that her client escaped from custody was unfounded because there was ample evidence that she did not escape but left custody on May 23 with the express permission of gendarmerie officers, Messanga and Bayola, who were on duty.

Meanwhile, the story goes that Mrs. Andong, a hairdresser, who has a three-year old kid and is presently pregnant with her second child, was arrested and detained on May 22, at the Limbe Gendarmerie Brigade, following a warrant of arrest issued against her by the Limbe Senior State Counsel, Magistrate Eni Mokube. Mrs. Andong is said to have been arrested after she failed to honour three earlier summonses, The Post learnt. One Mrs. Mary Nanje, a resident of Isokolo, is said to have filed a complaint against Mrs. Andong for accrued rents and defamation.

Mrs. Andong reportedly spent the night of May 22 at the Gendarmerie Brigade. Her Counsel told The Post that, in the morning of Wednesday, May 23, she was taken to the State Counsel Chambers. Unfortunately, the Senior State Counsel was unavailable. The Deputy State Counsel, Magistrate Njiman Ewane, who received her, asked that she be taken back into custody and brought back the following morning.

Later in the evening of May 23, at about 6:33 pm, according to Gendarmerie records, Mrs. Andong had complained of ill-health and with permission from their boss, the gendarmes asked the husband, Wilfred Andang Wassi, to take his wife for medical attention that evening, and ensure that they return in the morning for the State Counsel’s rendezvous.

Reports say at about 8 pm, the Deputy State Counsel visited the Gendarmerie cell in the absence of Mrs. Andang. When Mrs. Andang was taken to the State Counsel on May 24, the Senior State Counsel is said to have charged her to appear in Court on May 25 on the allegation of having tried to escape from detention. On Friday, May 25, she was taken to the Limbe Court where the Court found her liable to the charge pressed against her by the Limbe Senior State Counsel.

On the strength of the alleged crime of attempted escape she was then sent to await trial at the Buea Awaiting Trial facility where she spent three weeks. Barrister Njioro said, given that her client was pregnant, he got her released from the Buea detention facility on a bail of FCFA 500.000. The court continued to hear the case while Mrs. Andang was on bail until August 27, when the Limbe Court finally slammed her six months in jail.

Barrister Njioro reiterated that, “The Criminal Procedure Code in its Section 565 states that an order of imprisonment shall not be passed against a pregnant woman, anyone above the age of 60 or below the age of 18 at the time of execution.” The Post gathered that Magistrate Tatsi had said that his ruling was meant to put an end to the practice where officers quickly let go detainees entrusted in their custody.

First published in The Post print edition no 01370

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