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Appeal Court Upholds Maryam Sanda’s Death Sentence

4 December 2020 National News News

The Court of Appeal in Abuja, has upheld the conviction and death sentence that was handed to Maryam Sanda, daughter inlaw to a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Mr. Mohammed Bello Haliru.

The appellate court, in a unanimous judgement by a three-man panel of Justices led by Justice Stephen Adah, said it found no reason to set-aside the verdict of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, which okayed Maryam to die by hanging.

It held that the 20 grounds of appeal Maryam filed to challenge her conviction and sentence lacked merit and deserved to be dismissed.

Maryam, who was on January 27, found guilty of stabbing her husband, Bilyamin Bello, a real estate developer to death at their Abuja residence in 2017, had in her appeal, maintained that she was denied fair hearing by the trial court.

She accused the trial Judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu of bias, insisting that he relied on circumstantial and hearsay evidence, to sentence her to death.

Maryam, through her lawyer, Mr. Joseph. K. Gadazama, maintained that the trial judge failed to restrict himself to the evidence that was adduced before the court.

She prayed the appellate court to set aside her conviction and the sentence imposed by the high court Judge and acquit her of the charge.

However, the appellate court, in the lead judgement that was delivered by Justice Adah, said it was not in doubt that the appellant killed her husband.

The appellate court however faulted the trial court judge for his failure to rule on Maryam’s preliminary objection before he delivered final judgement in the matter.

The court held that the trial judge was right in his verdict, stressing that the offence of culpable homicide committed by the appellant, is punishable by death under section 221 of the Penal Code.

Victoria Abah/Abuja


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