4 December 2020 By Victoria Abah
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.
Delivering its judgment, the appellate court 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.
Maryam, prayed the appellate court to discharge and acquit her of the culpable homicide charge that led to her conviction.
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 judge for his failure to rule on Maryam’s preliminary objection before he delivered final judgement on the matter.
It therefore invoked its powers under section 6(6) (a) of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and dismissed Maryam’s pending preliminary objection for want of merit.
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.
Addressing journalists immediately after the judgment, Counsel to the appellate Maryam, Mr. Joe Gadzama, hinted that they would be challenging the verdict further.
Meanwhile, the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. James Idachaba, said justice had been served.
The Police had in the charge which it filed pursuant to section 109(d) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015, alleged that Maryam stabbed her husband to death with a broken bottle, at their Abuja residence.