There was total chaos and pandemonium in court on Monday as Mrs. Maryam Sanda Haliru, the wife of Bilyaminu Bello Haliru, the late son of a former chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bello Haliru, who killed her husband, was sentenced to death.
It could be recalled that Mrs. Haliru was, on November 11, 2017, arrested by operatives of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) police command in Maitama, Abuja, and charged with culpable homicide over the death of her husband, Bilyaminu.
It was established that Maryam stabbed her husband, Bilyaminu, following a domestic squabble that lasted deep into the night.
According to Maryam, she saw a picture of a naked lady sent by a woman unknown to her which sparked off a night of horror for the family.
Evidences presented before the court showed Maryam inflicted deep bite wounds and stabbed her late husband repeatedly while he was asleep.
She later drove the deceased, Late Bilyaminu, by herself to Maitama General Hospital, FCT Abuja, where he was later confirmed dead around 4am on November 12, 2017.
The wounds, the court held, resulted to the death of the deceased.
The prosecution counsel submitted that the accused killed the deceased and is guilty of culpable homicide and prayed the court to sentence her to death.
On her part, the defence counsel, Regina Okotiebo, argued that the accused did not kill her husband, rather the deceased fell accidentally upon a bottle and met his untimely death.
She argued that there was no autopsy as evidence and that no weapon was tendered as evidence as proof of culpable homicide.
The presiding judge, Justice Halilu Halilu while passing the sentence, held that the defendant committed the crime she was accused of.
Relying on referenced Supreme Court judgements in homicide cases, he reasoned that the court can rely upon available evidence, including circumstances of death and time factor.
He also cited the doctrine of “Last Seen” whereby the last person that saw a deceased must explain what happened to the deceased, otherwsie will face the wrath of the law.
Under the present circumstances, the defendant, Maryam Sanda was entrusted with the burden to explain what happened to the deceased and not the prosecutor.
Further, the judge expressed indignation at the defendant whom he accused of destroying evidence, saying that she herself broke the bottle long after the deceased was dead as a smokescreen to evade justice.
He maintained that Bilyaminu died, not as a result of any bottle wound as alleged but as a result of kitchen knife stab wounds inflicted by the accused, the wife.
After taking into consideration all available factors and evidences, the judge, Justice Halilu found her guilty of premeditated murder, otherwise termed “culpable homicide”.
That was when hell was let loose in the court!
The mother of the defendant raised a loud cry in the court and was quickly joined by other female companions.
The accused broke away from the dock and ran into an adjourning room shouting and crying as she ran and was hot pursued by court personnel, as well as prison wardens.
The ensuing pandemonium forced the judge to adjourn for some minutes at the request of the defence counsel who pleaded for some time to calm her client down.
Restiveness ensued in the court.
Arguments and counter-arguments by learned personnels as well as laymen.
Blames were hurled across the court, rising from court personnels to lawyers, to prison officials, to friends, to relatives, etc.
After some minutes, the judge reappeared and wasted no time in handing a death sentence on the accused who went hysteric and could not be consoled until she was finally whisked out of court by prison wardens.
Before she left, however, the judge did not fail to remind her that she has right to appeal and will only be executed after she has exhausted all her rights to appeal at the superior court jurisdictions.