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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Culpable Homicide: Appeal Court upholds death sentence for Maryam Sanda

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The Court of Appeal in Abuja, on Friday, upheld the conviction and death sentence that was handed to Maryam Sanda, daughter-in-law to a former Chairman of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, Mohammed Bello Haliru.

The appellate court, in a unanimous judgment 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 sentenced Maryam to death 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, 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.

The convict told the appellate court that there was lack of confessional statement, absence of murder weapon, lack of corroboration of evidence by two witnesses and lack of autopsy report to determine the true cause of her husband’s death.

Insisting that the trial court’s judgment occasioned a grave miscarriage of justice against her, Maryam, begged 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 judgment that was delivered by Justice Adah, said it was not in doubt that the appellant killed her husband.

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.

The court ordered that the convict should remain at the Correctional Center in Suleja till she exhausts her right of appeal.

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