Thirty nine persons accused of acts of commission and omission in the Shakahola massacre Thursday appeared before Tononoka Children’s courts in Mombasa.
The accused persons appeared before Principal Magistrate Hon. Nelly Chepchirchir facing 17 offenses under the children Act 2012, prevention of torture Act 2017 and basic education Act 2013.
The charges include two counts of subjecting a child to torture with an alternative count of causing actual bodily harm, nine charges of cruelty to a child and six counts of infringing a child’s right to education.
The accused led by Paul Mackenzie denied subjecting a child to torture contrary to torture contrary to section 25 (3) of the Children Act, 2022 as read with section 5 (1) of the Prevention of Torture Act, No. 12 of 2017.
They also pleaded not guilty to causing bodily harm contrary to section 251 of the penal code, Cap 63 laws of Kenya and cruelty to a child contrary to section 152 (1) (a) of the children Act, 2022.
Some of the accused, who were charged with infringing a child’s right to education contrary to section 30 (1) (2) as read with section 30 (3) of the Basic Education Act, 2013, denied the offense.
The suspects allegedly committed the offences on unknown dates between 2019 and 2023 at Shakahola forest within Kilifi County.
The prosecution led by Deputy DPP, Victor Mule, Senior Assistant DPP Peter Kiprop, Assistant DPP Jami Yamina, Principal Prosecution Counsels Betty Rubia and Victor Owiti and Prosecution Counsels Eunice Odongo and Biasha Khalifa, opposed the release of the suspects on bond.
However, the application supported by an affidavit of Inspector Francis Maina could not be heard immediately.
The trial magistrate directed the application to be heard on 15 February 2024 to allow the defense time to reply to issues raised in the application.