*Sets Aside Death Sentence Against Yahaya Sharif Aminu
An Appeal Panel presided by Chief Judge of Kano State, Justice Nura Sagir and Justice Nasiru Saminu has ordered the retrial of the case of blasphemy levelled against one Yahaya Sheriff Aminu.
The defendant, it could be recalled, was last year convicted by an Upper Sharia Court sitting at Zoo Road in the state capital and subsequently sentenced to death for act blasphemy against the Holy Prophet.
Delivering judgement on Thursday at the High Court in Kano, the two-member Appeal Panel ordered that the case be returned to the same Upper Sharia Court at Zoo Road for a retrial but should be retried by a judge different from Alkali AliyuMohd Kani who presided over the previous trial.
The Appeal Panel held that the defendant was not represented by a legal representative throughout his trial at the Upper Sharia Court adding that it was the duty of the court to ensure that he was duly and legally represented especially given the magnitude of the case which involved a capital punishment
The panel, therefore, submitted that the failure of the defendant to be represented by a legal representative during the trial at the Upper Sharia Court was a clear omission which renders the proceedings of the case a nullify.
In a similar appeal involving one Umar Farouk, who was sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment by the same Upper Sharia Court for blasphemy the panel discharged and acquitted the defendant.
In setting aside the sentence, the panel held that the defendant was a minor at the time of his trial adding that as a minor he could not be liable for his admission.
The panel observed that even the trial judge in his case at the Upper Sharia Coury admitted that he was 17 years of age during the trial.
In addition, the panel held that the said Umar Farouk was not represented by a legal representative at the Upper Sharia court, thereby invalidating the outcome of the case.
Speaking to Daily Sun at the premises of the court soon after the judgement, counsel to the two defendants, Kila Alapinni Esq expressed delight at the judgement of both cases.
” Now that the case has been returned for retrial by another judge, we are very hopeful that Yahaya Aminu Shariff would have his day in court under proper guidance and legal direction,” he said.
He assured that his legal team would remain in Kano to represent the defendant, saying that they would defend him up to the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court if the need arose.
Asked what happened if the defendant elected not to have a legal representation, he noted that he has accessed the defendant adding that he was positively disposed to being represented by a legal person
On the issue of the constitutionality of the Sharia Code, which was upheld by the panel, he stated that, “We need to ho back and study the judgement and decide if we want to proceed to the Appeal Court and the Supreme Court to challenge it ” he stated.
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