Why State is Yet To Press Charges Against Mackenzie and his Followers

August 8, 2023

The State is seeking an additional 47-day period to detain Cult leader Paul Mackenzie and his coaccused, asserting that it would be premature to initiate criminal charges before concluding investigations into the Shakahola tragedy.

According to court documents, the State has indicated that it is not prepared to formally bring criminal charges against the Shakahola members, despite having identified potential offenses.

Assistant Director of Public Prosecution Jami Yamina informed the court that the surviving young children have furnished investigators with substantial evidence against the suspects.

“These children are still missing and presumed dead. The respondents have not disclosed their whereabouts or cooperated with the investigators to determine what happened,” said the prosecutor.

The State is additionally awaiting DNA and forensic analysis results to establish the familial connections between the deceased individuals and the respondents before moving forward with the filing of criminal charges.

Mackenzie’s lawyer, Wycliffe Makasembo, has urged the court to dismiss the application, arguing that no convincing justifications have been presented to justify the prolonged detention.

The advocate further contended that the state has not divulged the full extent of the investigations, including which areas are still under scrutiny and which have already been examined.

“It is a blanket application. The state has made serious allegations but there is no evidence before the court to show that the respondents are guilty,” Makasembo argued.

The lawyer cautioned against persistently infringing upon the rights of the suspects through prolonged detention without a trial.

The court is set to announce its decision on August 10th.

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