Maryam Sanda is over three months pregnant and the prisons condition could be harmful to her and the foetus, her lawyer, Joseph Daudu (SAN) told court.
Sources revealed on December 14, 2017 that Maryam, who is presently breast feeding a baby was also pregnant. She is standing trial for allegedly killing her husband Bilyamin Bello.
At the resumed hearing yesterday, while moving an application for bail for his client, Daudu told the court that the application was different from the one the court dismissed on December 14, as fresh reasons have been put before the court for the court to exercise its discretion in releasing the defendant on bail.
He said he has not found any court ruling where a pregnant woman was incarcerated when standing trial even for capital offences.
Responding, police prosecutor, CSP James Idachaba said he does not think the fact that Maryam is pregnant falls under the exceptional condition envisaged by S161 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.
“This is a matter of law; we cannot allow personal emotions to come in play. The facts placed before the court is not sufficient for the court to exercise its discretion,” he said while urging the court to dismiss the application.
The trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu said ruling would be delivered tomorrow and ordered the prosecution to commence with its first witness.
However, Maryam’s counsel raised another observation on the mode of commencing the case, when he said the matter ought to have been commenced by a police First Information Report (FIR) and not a charge according to the Penal Code. He added that the matter also ought to have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice as provided for by Section 105(2) of the ACJA.
Idachaba, however said it was too late in the day for the defence counsel to raise issues of objection on the manner the case was commenced since pleas have already been taken, adding that Section 221 of the ACJA provided that, “Objections shall not be taken or entertained during proceeding or trial on the ground of an imperfect or erroneous charge.”
“We never came to this court on the fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation, we came as of right,” he said, adding that the Constitution and the ACJA allow the police to proceed with criminal trial without recourse to the DPP or the AGF.
Agreeing with him, Justice Halilu said the ACJA has provided for situation like this and that the Act allowed the judge to hear all applications of this nature and deliver ruling at the end of the matter.
The judge however adjourned the matter to February 7 for definite hearing when the defence counsel observed that the statement of the first witness was not included in the proof of evidence attached to the charge.