Caregiver jailed five years for manslaughter

An Accra High Court has sentenced a caregiver to five years in prison for manslaughter. Clara Yanyi-Ampah, a trained nurse, manhandled an 11-month-old infant in a school in Agbogba, near Accra, in May 2021, which led to her death. Yanyi-Ampah initially pleaded not guilty but changed her plea to guilty after reaching a plea-bargaining agreement with the Attorney General's Office. She was initially held on the charge of murder when the case was before the Adentan District Court in 2021. However, on the advice of the Attorney General, a charge of manslaughter was brought against her, and she was made to stand trial in the High Court. The prosecution, led by Senior State Attorney Mercy Arthur, told the court that the parties agreed to a five-year prison sentence for the accused during the plea-bargaining process. After hearing from all parties involved, the trial Judge, Justice Marie-Louise Simmons, convicted Yanyi-Ampah and sentenced her to five years in jail. When imposing the sentence, the trial judge s aid she considered the defendant's time in detention from her arrest in May 2021 until her release on bail, and that she did not face a full trial. According to the court, the accused had no prior criminal record and showed remorse It did, however, express its disapproval with the accused's conduct and attitude, stating that she displayed 'reckless disregard for human life.' The prosecution said that the complainants (names withheld) were a married couple and the parents of the 11-month-old infant who died. It said the deceased infant enrolled in the school in North Legon, Accra, on April 6, 2021, where Yanyi-Ampah worked as a caregiver. The prosecution said that on May 8, 2021, the baby arrived at school in good health. However, at around 1450 hours, a teacher at the school named Madam Gladys Osei entered the changing room and attempted to play with the infant as Clara was changing her clothing. According to the prosecution, Madam Osei noticed the baby was unresponsive and asked Yanyi-Ampah if he was sleeping, to which she said no. According to the prosecution, Madam Osei reported the incident to the school's administrator, who took the baby to the hospital before contacting her father. Both parents went to the hospital, but she was proclaimed dead when a medical assessment revealed that the infant was unresponsive and all attempts to resuscitate her were unsuccessful. During the investigation, CCTV footage retrieved from the school showed Clara feeding the baby before changing her clothes. The CCTV footage also revealed that Clara 'pulled' the baby's hands to her back while feeding her and poured the food from a cup down her (baby's) throat. The prosecution said that the defendant was required by school guidelines to feed the baby with a spoon. According to the postmortem report, the baby's airways, trachea, and left lung were full of food. The prosecution said that the pathologist determined the cause of death as 'asphyxiation due to aspiration of food following forced feeding.' Source: Ghana N ews Agency