By Kebba Jeffang
The National Assembly on Tuesday, December 29, 2015 passed a Bill to amend the Criminal Code and create the offence of ‘baby dumping’. The penalty for committing the offence is ten year imprisonment with hard labour.
Tabling the bill before the deputies, Mama Fatima Singhateh, Attorney General and Minister of Justice said the bill seeks to amend the Criminal Code by making provision for the offence of ‘baby dumping’.
She said “the bill seeks to discourage this phenomenon in our society by criminalising baby dumping and child destruction. It also provides a severe penalty for contravening the laws. It is envisaged that this law will serve as a deterrent to prospective offenders,” she said.
She informed that this provision will be inserted immediately after section 197 of the Principal Act as a new section 197A that prohibits baby dumping.
According to the said section “A person who willfully and with the intention of disposing of a child within twenty four months of that child’s birth; by either discarding, throwing or otherwise abandon the child in a public or private place commits a felony, and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for up to ten years with hard labour, with or without the option of a fine.”
Hon. Fabakary Tombong Jatta, majority leader and member for Serekunda East in seconding the motion said the bill is not controversial because all it seeks to do is to criminalise baby dumping and urged his fellow deputies to pass the bill into law.
Hon. Baboucarr S. Fadera, member for Kiang Central said life is so precious and that all lives are important. He said the reported cases of baby dumping are on the increase and without any punishment for it; there will be no deterrent of the act.
Meanwhile, without facing any opposition, the bill was passed by the parliament to become law in the country.