The trial of Maryam Sanda, accused of killing her husband Bilyamin Bello, has suffered another setback as three senior lawyers in the defense team have withdrawn their representations, Daily Trust reliably gathered.
Maryam, who was accused by the police of causing the death of Bello, son of former Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Bello Halliru Muhammad was docked alongside her mother, Maimuna Aliyu, her brother, Aliyu Sanda and one Sadiya, who were accused of assisting her to conceal the evidence by cleaning the blood of the deceased from the scene of the crime.
Daily Trust reports that Joseph B. Daudu (SAN); Rotimi Ogunesan (SAN); A. T. Kehinde (SAN) had been representing Maryam, Aliyu and Maimuna in the trial before the latest development while Olusegun O. Jolaawo from the chambers of Messrs Ricky Tarfa & co represents Sadiya.
In a notice of withdrawal of counsel filed before the court said to be in “pursuant to Section 492(3) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015”, Maryam’s counsel asked the court to “Take notice that Mr. J.B. Daudu SAN hereby withdraws appearance as counsel to Maryam Sanda charged as 1st defendant in this case.” The notice was dated September 18 and signed by Daudu.
In a similar notice, signed by counsel to the second defendant, Rotimi Ogunesan (SAN) dated September 20, the court was informed of the counsel’s withdrawal from the trial.
Although no reasons were stated in the notices for the withdrawal, there are speculations however on issues surrounding legal fees not being paid promptly. The families of the defendants could however not be reached for confirmation.
Our reporter further gathered from court papers that the trial scheduled to resume on Thursday may not proceed as planned as the remaining legal team for the defendants (from the Chambers of Ricky Tarfa & co) has written to the Registrar of the trial court to apply for “a vacation of the scheduled date of 4th October, 2018 and for an adjournment.”
The letter, signed by the chambers’ deputy head, Olusegun O. Jolaawo, stated that, “The matter stands adjourned to the 4th of October, 2018 for continuation of hearing. However, the 1st defendant, Maryam Sanda was delivered of a baby boy on the 7th of August, 2018 at the Nizamiye Hospital Ltd. Abuja and is still recuperating. She is not yet strong enough to withstand the rigors of trial.”
“We are in receipt of notices of withdrawal of representation recently filed by the counsels to the 1st and 2nddefendants herein and pursuant to which there has been indication from the said defendants that we are to take over the representation of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants in addition to that of the 4th defendant”, the letter added.
Based on these developments, the court was asked to consider November 7, 8, 13 or 14 as new dates for the continuation of trial.
Daily Trust reports that when the matter was mentioned on May 15, it was adjourned to June 28 and 29 in view of a letter sent to the court by Maryam Sanda’s lawyer requesting for an adjournment due to ill health on his part.
When the matter came up on June 28, the prosecutor, CSP James Idachaba pleaded with the court to grant an adjournment on the ground that he was not feeling well enough to proceed with the case. The case was thereafter adjourned to October 4 for continuation of hearing.