Maryam Sanda Weeps as Appeal Court Upholds Death Sentence

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Bilyamin Bello-Maryam-Sanda

Maryam Sanda weeps at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in Abuja on January 27, 2020. Photo: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

An Appeal Court in Abuja has dismissed the appeal filed by Maryam Sanda for lacking in merit.

The court upheld the judgement by the FCT High Court which had sentenced her to death by hanging for killing her husband, Bilyaminu Bello, son of the former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Haliru Bello,

Her Counsel, Joe Gadzama SAN, however, said they are heading to the supreme court, while Counsel to Police, James Idachaba, praised the judgement, adding that they are also ready to meet them at the apex court.

In his two-hour Judgement, Presiding Judge, Justice Steven Adah, held that the court is duty-bound to do justice according to law and not sentiments.

The judge held that the law does not leave room for irregularities, adding that parties must conduct criminal trials according to the law.

Under Section 221 of the penal code, the court held that the trial judge was right in his verdict, stressing that the offence is punishable by death.

The court further held that it was not in doubt that Sanda killed her husband, and has no reason to set aside the verdict of the lower court.

The Appeal court also noted that there was evidence that Maryam murdered her husband during a fight after she saw a nude picture on his phone, and she had threatened him, adding that it could be ruled as premeditated murder.

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Maryam Sanda was on January 27 found guilty of stabbing her husband to death at their Abuja residence

Justice Yusuf Halilu of the FCT High Court gave the sentence in Abuja while delivering judgment on the protracted trial of Missus Sanda.

He sentenced Sanda after she was convicted for stabbing late Bilyaminu to death, son of former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr Haliru Bello.

Upon her conviction by the judge, Sanda broke down in tears and wept uncontrollably.

Not satisfied with the ruling, she had approached the appellate court in Abuja to challenge the decision of the FCT High Court.

In the Notice of Appeal predicated on twenty grounds, Sanda prayed the appellate court to set aside the verdict of the lower court and acquit her.

She claimed that the trial judge, Justice Halilu was tainted by bias and prejudices.

According to the appellant, this led to the denial of her right to a fair hearing and her consequent conviction based on circumstantial evidence.

Sanda alleged that the judge gave the verdict despite the reasonable doubt that was created by evidence of witnesses, lack of confessional statement, absence of murder weapon, lack of corroboration of evidence by two or more witnesses, and lack of autopsy report to determine the true cause of her husband’s death.

She insisted that the judgment of the trial court was complete “a miscarriage of justice.”

The appellant also pointed to the failure of the trial judge to rule, one way or the other, on her preliminary objection, challenging the charge preferred against her and the jurisdiction of the court as evidence of bias and a denial of her right to fair hearing as constitutionally guaranteed.

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She, therefore, asked the Court of Appeal to allow her prayers and set aside her conviction and sentence and subsequently acquit her

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