Controversial Pastor Paul Mackenzie Friday appeared before a Malindi Court in a case where he is accused of violating laws relating to film classification.
Mr. Mackenzie, who has been in police custody for more than three months following the infamous Shakahola massacre where 338 of his followers have so far been confirmed dead, is accused of using unclassified films to incite children against going to school.
He appeared before Resident Magistrate Irene Tamara for the mention of the case that has been pending since 2019.
Journalists were however only allowed to take pictures and leave the courtroom as the magistrate had given express instructions that she would only enter the room after the departure of the scribes.
She reportedly said she was handling the case on behalf of another judicial officer and did not want the presence of the media.
“The magistrate has said that she will not enter the courtroom as long as there are journalists inside. Therefore, just take pictures and leave,” a female court official told the scribes. Moments later, Mackenzie was whisked out of the courtroom.
In the case, Mr. Mackenzie is facing three counts of incitement to disobedience of the law, possessing and distributing to the public films which have not been classified by the Kenya Film Classification Board and producing films without a valid license from the board.
Count one states that on April 11, 2019 in Malindi Town of Kilifi County, jointly with others not before court, Mackenzie was found in possession of cinematographic films intended to incite children against attending school.
The films, according to the police, also incited Christians against Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.
In the second count, Mackenzie is charged that on diverse dates between January 1, 2019 and April 11, 2019 at the Good News International Church in Malindi town, together with others not before court, he was found in possession of and exhibiting films to the public through Times Television which had not been examined and classified by the Kenya Film Classification Board.
He was also charged that on April 11, 2019, in the same venue and jointly with others not before court, he was found operating a filming studio and producing films for public consumption without first registering as a film agent and acquiring a filming license.
Mr. Mackenzie denied the charges and was out on a Ksh 500,000 cash bail, with an alternative bond of Ksh 1 million before he was later arrested in connection with the Shakahola deaths, where at least 338 of his followers are alleged to have died after he allegedly influenced them to starve to meet Jesus Christ.