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Explainer: 3 reasons appeal court dismisses Maryam Sanda's pleas, upholds death sentence by hanging (photo)





Maryam Sanda's first attempt to overturn the judgment of the high court convicting her of murder on Friday, December 4, hit the bricks in what has brought back to the limelight one of the intriguing cases in the country's recent history.

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A three-man panel of the court led by Justice Stephen Adah had dismissed Sanda's appeal in a unanimous verdict on Friday.

It would be recalled that Sanda was convicted of murdering her husband, Bilyaminu Bello who was the cousin of the former national chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The Abuja Federal High Court, on Monday, January 27, sentenced her to death by hanging after the police charged her for the offence in November 2017.

Maryam Sanda: Lack of merit, other 2 reasons appeal court upholds death sentence

Maryam Sanda's appeal notice was dished away for lacking merits by a three-man panel. Credit: Channels TV
Source: UGC

While delivering the judgement, Justice Yusuf Halilu said there was compelling evidence to convict the accused and dismissed Sanda’s claim that her husband fell on a broken Shisha pot during the fight that led to his death.

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As the judgement raised a new speck of dust, Legit.ng highlights 3 reasons the Justice Haliru's judgement convicting Sanda of murder was upheld by the three-man appeal court panel.

1. Lack of merits

Sanda had approached the appellate court and prayed that it set aside the verdict of the lower court and acquit her, saying she was not given a fair hearing.

According to her notice of appeal, Sanda claimed the trial judge was biased, alleging that Justice Haliru gave the verdict in spite of the reasonable doubt in the evidence of the witnesses.

"The judgement 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.”

But in a two-hour judgement, the panel threw away Sanda's appeal for lacking merits.

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2. Justice according to law

While delivering the judgement on Friday, the Justice Stephen Adah-led panel posited that there was no reason to set aside the judgement of the lower court.

The panel also insisted that apart from the fact that Sanda's notice of appeal has no credible merits, the evidence against the defendant was massive and glaring, hence justice has to be served in accordance to the law -- and no sentiments.

3. Inability to prove Bello fell in a broken pot during argument

One of Sanda's major defences in the note of appeal is that Bello, her late husband, fell on the remnants of the broken pot during a heated fight.

But the three-man panel faulted the claim and described it as spurious. The Justice Adah-led panel said that claim is unsubstantial to convince the court that the murder was unintended.

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We are heading to Supreme Court - Sanda's lawyer

A senior advocate of Nigeria who happened to be the lead to Maryam Sanda's counsel maintained that there was a hole in the appellate court's verdict.

Addressing the journalists after the judgment, he said his client would pursue justice to the Supreme Court.

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Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka
Chuka (Webby) Aniemeka

Chuka is an experienced certified web developer with an extensive background in computer science and 18+ years in web design &development. His previous experience ranges from redesigning existing website to solving complex technical problems with object-oriented programming. Very experienced with Microsoft SQL Server, PHP and advanced JavaScript. He loves to travel and watch movies.

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