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Shakahola massacre key suspect Mackenzie boycotts hearing

The Shakahola massacre key suspect Paul Nthege Mackenzie Wednesday boycotted hearing of a terrorism case facing him and 94 others.

His lawyer Wycliffe Makasembo frantic plea to persuade him to appear in court hit a dead end.

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Mackenzie remained within the Shanzu Court premise after declining to present himself from hearing of an application by the prosecution to oppose his release and other suspects on bond.

Makasembo told Principal Magistrate Leah Juma that his client had complained of being separated from other suspects accusing prison authority of discrimination.

The defense lawyer also informed the court that his client raised with him fear of “abduction.”

He prayed that the hearing be adjourned to allow him educate Mackenzie on legal issues and persuade him to continue attending the proceedings.

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 constitution allows trial of any case in absentia of an accused person.

The prosecution further submitted that Mackenzie is a convicted prisoner hence the law requires prison authority to separate him from the remandees.

Juma also heard that Mackenzie has been radicalizing his co-Shakahola suspects to stage a hunger strike hence raising serious security concerns.

In her ruling, Juma summoned the officer in charge of Shimo la Tewa Maximum Security prison to appear and shed light on alleged violation of Mackenzie’s rights including segregation from others.

The investigations officer Chief Inspector Raphael Wanjohi was also summoned to explain the allegations of abduction.

The court also directed the probation department to prepare bail reports to guide it in determining the DPP’s application to oppose the bond.

Juma further directed the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) to prepare psycho-social reports on each of the accused persons.

The court will make further direction on 27 March 2024 when the matter will be mentioned.

Haniel Mengistu
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