Monday, July 15, 2024

Shakahola massacre key suspect Paul Mackenzie boycotts hearing

Key suspect in the Shakahola massacre pastor Paul Mackenzie has boycotted hearing against him and 94 others.

The hearing which was meant for bond hearing saw the suspect through his lawyer lamented over discrimination in prison and fear of abduction.

“The Shakahola massacre key suspect, Paul Nthege Mackenzie today boycotted hearing of a terrorism case facing him and 94 others. His lawyer, Wycliffe Makasembo’s, frantic plea to persuade him to appear in court hit a dead end.

The hearing was for a bond application filed by the prosecution to oppose the release of the 95 suspects. Makasembo told Principal Magistrate Hon. Leah Juma that his client had complained of being separated from other suspects, accusing the prison’s authority of discrimination.

The defense lawyer also informed the court that his client raised fear of being “abducted.” He sought an adjournment for him to advise his clients.” said ODPP

The boycott was however termed as a plot to delay the proceedings by the prosecution team as the Judge summoned the officer in charge of Shimo la Tewa Maximum Security Prison and the investigating officer to shed more light on the issue raised in court.

“However, Senior Assistant DPP Peter Kiprop, Principal Prosecution Counsel Anthony Musyoka and Senior Prosecution Counsel Peris Ongega opposed the adjournment, dismissing Mackenzie’s claims as theatrics to delay the proceedings.

The DPP team stated that there is no harm if the court hears their bond application in Mackenzie’s absence, stating that Article 50 of the Constitution allows trial of any accused in absentia in certain circumstances.

The prosecution further submitted that Mackenzie is a convicted prisoner; hence, the law requires prison authority to separate him from his co-accused, who are remandees. Hon. Juma also heard that Mackenzie has been radicalizing and encouraging other accused persons to stage a hunger strike, hence raising serious security concerns.

In her ruling, Hon. Juma summoned the officer in charge of Shimo la Tewa Maximum Security Prison and the investigating officer to appear and shed light on issues raised in court.

The court also directed the probation department to prepare bail reports to guide it in determining the DPP’s application to oppose the bond. Hon. Juma further directed the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) to prepare psychosocial reports on each of the accused persons.

The court will give further direction on 27 March 2024 when the matter will be mentioned.” said ODPP

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