By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
Justice Yusuf Halihu of a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court, sitting in Jabi, yesterday, struck out a bail application filed by the Maryam Sanda, for the second time.
Sanda is being prosecuted alongside her mother, Maimuna Aliyu; brother, Aliyu Sanda; and their house help, Sadiya Aminu.
Specifically, Sanda was accused of killing her husband, Bilyamin Bello, by stabbing him on the chest and other parts of the body with a knife and other dangerous weapons.
The offence according to the prosecution, is a culpable homicide punishable by death under Section 221 of the Penal Code Act.
Also, other defendants in the matter were accused of causing the ‘evidence of the offence to disappear by clearing the blood from the scene of crime, therefore, commited offence punishable under section 167 of the Penal Code Act.
At the last adjourned date, counsel to the defendant, Mr. Joseph Daudu (SAN), informed the court of her fresh bail application filed on January 24, 2018, premised on the ground that she is three months pregnant.
At the resumption of trial, yesterday, the trial judge, said he has been informed of Sanda’s notice of appeal filed on December 28, 2017, challenging the earlier ruling of the court declining her bail.
The judge them asked, if the second motion for bail filed on January 24, 2018, did not constitute an abuse of court process in view of the notice of appeal still pending in the court’s file.
In response, counsel to the defendant Daudu SAN, submitted that the application did not constitute an abuse of court process, stressing that it was technically dead since it had not been processed within the time limit allowed by law.
Opposing the application, the prosecution Counsel, James Idachaba, maintained that no application had been filed before the Court of Appeal withdrawing the notice of appeal, stressing its still valid.
He added that the application constituted an abuse of court process, therefore should be struck out.
Delivery his ruling the judge said, “The proper thing to have done is to file notice of discontinuance of the appeal but having not done that the new motion filed on 25/1/2018 was brought for the irritation of the court and the prosecution counsel, and it is thereby struck out.
“A notice of appeal is the livewire that animates and sustains an appeal. It is the originating process which set the ball rolling for a proper commencement of an appeal.
“Sincerely appreciated and understood” Daudu’s distinction between filing and entering an appeal, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for his (Daudu’s) argument to sway this court.”
Further in his ruling, the judge held that the Supreme Court stand on abuse of court process is when court have not been properly used.
“The step taken by the defence counsel is such that ought to be observed closely. If the reliefs sort in the appeal and the new motion are same, the question is can I be asked to exercise discretion during pendency of the appeal.
“Filing and entering appeal are different issues. Appeal is considered filed when the notice is given to the trial court registrar and it is considered entered when appearances have been made and appeal number attached to it.”
The trial judge continue, “I must warn myself to refrain from taking the part that will lead to destruction in that I want to avoid the situation where I sit on a matter already before my brother senior judges when the issue in contention originate from my Court.
‘the application is accordingly struck out,” the judge held.
Meanwhile, the matter is adjourned to March 19 for hearing and commencement of trial