Mackenzie and 38 Co-Defendants Charged with Child Torture and Cruelty

January 26, 2024

Thirty-nine suspects accused of committing and omitting acts in the Shakahola massacre appeared before Tononoka Children’s Courts in Mombasa on Thursday.

Principal Magistrate Hon. Nelly Chepchirchir presided over the appearance of the accused persons, who faced 17 offenses under the Children Act 2012, Prevention of Torture Act 2017, and Basic Education Act 2013.

The charges comprise 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.

Led by Pastor Paul Mackenzie, the accused pleaded not guilty to subjecting a child to torture, as per section 25 (3) of the Children Act, 2022, read with section 5 (1) of the Prevention of Torture Act, No. 12 of 2017.

They also denied 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.

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Some of the accused, charged with infringing a child’s right to education as per section 30 (1) (2) read with section 30 (3) of the Basic Education Act, 2013, pleaded not guilty to the offense.

The alleged offenses were reportedly committed on unknown dates between 2019 and 2023 at Shakahola forest within Kilifi County.

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 led the prosecution and opposed the release of the suspects on bond.

However, the application, supported by an affidavit from Inspector Francis Maina, could not be heard immediately.

The trial magistrate scheduled the application to be heard on February 15, 2024, to provide the defense with time to respond to the issues raised in the application.

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