Maryam Sanda, who was recently sentenced to death for the murder of her husband, Bilyaminu Bello, has appealed against the January 27, 2020, judgment of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
Justice Yusuf Halilu of the FCT High Court had ruled that there was circumstantial evidence coupled with her testimony and statement to the police that she “fatally” stabbed her husband to death in Abuja on November 19, 2017.
But Maryam, a mother of two, has filed a 20-ground notice of appeal, praying for an order of the Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal to discharge and acquit her.
Her notice of appeal was filed by her team of lawyers, led by Rickey Tarfa (SAN), on February 19, 2020.
She contended that the judgment convicting her was tainted by bias and prejudices resulting in her being denied her right to fair hearing.
She also pointed out to 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 described the judgment as “a miscarriage of justice”, adding that the failure of the trial judge to rule, one way or the other, on her preliminary objection, challenging the charges preferred against her and the jurisdiction of the court, was evidence of bias and a denial of her constitutional right to fair hearing.
She submitted that “the honourable trial judge erred in law when having taken arguments on the appellant’s preliminary objection to the validity of the charge on March 19, 2018 failed to rule on it at the conclusion of trial or at any other time”.
The appellant contended that “the trial judge exhibited bias against the defendant in not ruling one way or the other on the said motion challenging his jurisdiction to entertain the charge” and “therefore fundamentally breached the right to fair hearing of the defendant.
The appellant also argued that “the trial judge erred in law and misdirected himself on the facts when he applied the doctrine of last seen and held at pages 82 – 83 of his judgment that the appellant was the person last seen with the deceased and thus bears the full responsibility for the death of the deceased, and thereby occasioned a miscarriage of justice.”
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