Maryam Sanda, who allegedly stabbed her husband, Bilyamin Bello, to death on November 19, 2017, says she is three months pregnant.
She spoke at the resumed hearing of the case against her at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Jabi, Abuja, through her counsel, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN).
Daudu informed the court of the development on Monday while moving a fresh bail application which he filed on her behalf.
It was the second time she would be asking for bail since she was first arraigned before the court on November 24, 2017, on charges of culpable homicide.
On December 14, 2017, the trial judge, Justice Yusuf Halilu, rejected her initial bail application.
Following an amended to the original charges which had only Sanda as the sole defendant, three others – her mother, Maimuna Aliyu; brother, Aliyu Sanda; and another person, Sadiya Aminu – were joined as co-defendants.
In the amended two counts preferred against the four of them, Maryam was accused in the first count of committing culpable homicide punishable by death under section 221 of the Penal Code Act.
She was accused of causing the death of her husband, Bilyamin Bello, who was said to be a son of a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Haliru Bello,“by stabbing him on the chest and other parts of the body with a knife and other dangerous weapons which eventually led to his death.”
She allegedly stabbed the deceased at their residence at 4, Pakali Close, Wuse Zone 2, Abuja, on November 19, 2017, “with the knowledge that his death would be the probable and not only the likely consequence of your act.”
The three others were in the second count, specifically accused of causing the “evidence of the offence to disappear” by “cleaning the blood from the scene of crime with the intention of screening one Maryam Sanda from legal punishment.”
The trio’s offence was said to be punishable under section 167 of the Penal Code Act.
On December 14, 2017, Justice Halilu, ruling on a bail application filed on behalf of four of the defendants, refused to grant bail to Sanda but granted to the three others.
However, at the resumed hearing on Monday, the lead defence counsel, Daudu, said there was a new development warranting the filing of a fresh bail application on behalf of Sanda.
Daudu said the new application dated January 25, 2018 was filed on January 26, 2018 praying for an order granting the first defendant bail.
“My lord, the new fact is that she is three months pregnant and I have done my research,” Daudu told the court.
He urged the court to grant her client bail while assuring the judge that she would attend her trial.
He said, “Apart from issue of blood pressure, pregnancy is a thing that comes with complicating issues. I urge the court to exercise its discretion under the Administration of Criminal Justice Act and grant the defendant bail.”
But in response, the police prosecuting counsel, Mr. James Idachaba, told the court that the defence had not adduced sufficient evidence for the bail application to be granted.
He said he had filed a counter-affidavit of 12 paragraphs in opposition to the bail application.
Justice Halilu fixed Tuesday (today) for ruling and ordered the prosecution to call its first witness.
However, the defence counsel raised another issue, arguing that the matter ought to have been commenced by a police First Information Report and not a charge.
He added that the matter also ought to have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice as provided for by Section 105(2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.
The prosecuting counsel, Idachaba, however, said it was too late in the day for the defence to object since the pleas of the defendant had already been taken.
Idachaba added that section 221 of the ACJA provided that, “Objections shall not be taken or entertained during proceedings or trial on the grounds of an imperfect or erroneous charge.”
He also said, “We never came to this court on the fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation, we came as of right.”
He explained that the constitution and the ACJA allowed the police to proceed with criminal trial without recourse to the DPP or the AGF.
Justice Halilu Halilu agreed with the prosecutor, saying the ACJA allowed the judge to hear all applications such as that and deliver ruling at the end of the matter.
The judge, however, adjourned the matter till February 7 for definite hearing.
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