Appeal Court upholds death sentence on Maryam Sanda

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja has upheld the death sentence handed a mother of one, Maryam Sanda, convicted for murdering her husband, Bilyaminu Bello, a cousin of former Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Haliru Bello.

A three-man panel of the court, led by Justice Stephen Adah, in a judgment yesterday, unanimously dismissed Sandra’s appeal for lacking in merit.

The court said there was no reason in the appeal for it to set aside the decision of a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) which tried Sanda, convicted her and sentenced her to death by hanging.

Justice Adah, in the lead judgment, held that it was not in doubt that the appellant killed her husband.

He however faulted the trial court judge, Justice Halilu Yusuf, for failing to rule on the preliminary objection raised by Sanda before proceeding to deliver final judgment in the matter.

Sanda, who was on January 27, 2020 convicted by the High Court for stabbing her husband, a real estate developer, to death at their Abuja residence, had approached the appellate court to challenge the decision of the High Court.

In the Notice of Appeal, she had prayed the appellate court to set aside the verdict of the lower court and acquit her, saying that the trial judge was biased.

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She also alleged that Justice Yusuf gave the verdict in spite of 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 had described the judgment of the trial court as a complete miscarriage of justice on her, challenging the charges 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.

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

However, in a two-hour judgment, the Appeal Court’s presiding judge, Justice Steven Adah, threw out Maryam’s appeal, saying that the court is duty-bound to do justice according to law and not sentiments.

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