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‘Husband killer’: Maryam Sanda files 20 grounds of appeal, says trial judge erred in law

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ALLEGED husband killer, Maryam Sanda, who was sentenced to death in a ruling made at a Federal High Court, has filed an appeal to the Court of Appeal in Abuja, challenging the conviction.

Sanda, a mother of one, was sentenced to death by hanging by Justice Yusuf Halilu on January 27, after more than two years of delayed trials and several adjournments.

Daily Trust reports that in the notice of appeal filed on Sanda’s behalf by her team of counsel led by Ricky Tarfa (SAN), she accused the judge of erring in his judgement and described his ruling as a miscarriage of justice.

It was gathered that Sanda submitted a 20-ground appeal in which the first pointed to the trial judge’s exemption to rule on her preliminary objection, in which she challenged the charge against her and the jurisdiction of the court.

She pronounced that this was a denial to her right to fair hearing as constitutionally enabled.

“The trial judge erred in law when having taken arguments on her preliminary objection to the validity of the charge on the 19th of March, 2018 failed to rule on it at the conclusion of the trial or at any other time,” the notice of appeal read.

In ground two and five, the appellant argued that the judge overstepped by assuming the role of a police investigative officer and also misdirecting himself on facts of the case presented before him.

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“The duty of investigation is the constitutional preserve of the police, the constitutional duty of a trial court is to assess the credible evidence before it and reach a decision based on its assessment,” as contained in the particulars of error supported in ground 2.

In ground five, she said: “The trial judge erred in law and misdirected himself on the facts when he applied the Doctrine of Last Seen and held 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.”

On these basis and 17 others, the appellant prayed that the Court of Appeal to set aside her conviction, urged the court to discharge and acquit her.

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Seun Durojaiye is a journalist with International Center for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).

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