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Court adjourned after Mackenzie’s lawyer skips mention

Shanzu law court has Wednesday adjourned a case in which Shakahola massacre key suspect Paul Mackenzie and 94 others were charged with five terrorism related counts.

This is after Mackenzie and his co-accused’s lawyer Wycliffe Makasembo failed to appear in court to represent them.

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Senior Prosecution Counsel Peris Ogega told Principal Magistrate Hon. Leah Juma they are unaware of the defense counsel’s absence and they are ready to proceed with the matter.

However, Mackenzie and his co-accused prayed to the court to adjourn the mention of the matter until their lawyer is available.

In her ruling, Hon. Juma stated that the accused are faced with grave offenses and article 50 of the constitution requires an accused person to be represented by counsel.

She added that proceeding with the matter without their legal representation amounts to violation of Mackenzie and his co-accused’s fundamental rights.

Hon. Juma had summoned the officer in charge of Shimo la Tewa Maximum Security prison and the investigating officer to appear in court to explain Mackenzie’s grievances.

The Shakahola massacre mastermind had accused the prison prison’s authority of discrimination complaining that he had been separated from his co-accused.

The defense lawyer also informed the court that his client raised fear of being “abducted”.

In reply, Senior Assistant DPP Peter Kiprop told the court that Mackenzie is a convicted prisoner; hence, the law requires prison authority to separate him from his co-accused, who are also 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.

At the same time, Ms Ogega updated the court on the progress of its earlier orders.

She stated that the probation department requires 30 days to prepare bail reports to guide it in determining the DPP’s application to oppose the bond.

The court will make further direction on 3 April 2024.

Haniel Mengistu
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