During the continuation of Maryam Sanda’s case at a High Court sitting at Jabi in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, yesterday, the judge, Justice Halilu Yusuf, rejected the bail application filed by counsel to the first defendant, Joseph B. Daudu SAN, saying that the process followed in filing the bail application was marred by some irregularities.
He said that that the issue before the court was not fundamentally that of the difference between the pending appeal and a mere notice of appeal, but a case of whether the first defendant’s counsel filed a notice of discontinuance with respect to the notice of appeal before bringing to court the pending application for bail, amounts to abuse of court process.
Daudu had filed a notice of appeal against an earlier court ruling which was noticed by the judge only during the hearing, a development that prompted the judge to suo moto invite him and suggest to him to consider if the pendency of the appeal he filed and the pendency of the first defendant’s bail application do not amount to abuse of court process.
But Daudu argued that there is a difference between a pending appeal and a mere notice of appeal. He maintained that merely filing a notice of appeal without taking further steps to transmit it into record should deem it abandoned, making it incapable of constituting an abuse of court process.
Prosecution counsel, James Idachaba, in trying to substantiate his claims, drew the attention of the court to the date when the notice of appeal was filed and the date when the applicant’s pending bail application before the lower court was filed, and concluded that the defence counsel’s failure to withdraw the notice of appeal before filing the current application, amounts to abuse of court process.
In conclusion, the judge resolved the issue against the first defendant by ruling that his court does not have the power to hear the pending application for bail since the notice of appeal filed by counsel to the first defendant has not been withdrawn. He therefore, concluded by refusing to hear the first defendant’s application for bail.
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