Paul Mackenzie: Everything we know about his past criminal cases, and why judiciary staff are now under probe

Paul Mackenzie: Everything we know about his past criminal cases, and why judiciary staff are now under probe

Good News International church leader Paul Mackenzie during a past court appearance. PHOTO | COURTESY

As detectives from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) continue to exhume bodies from a vast piece of land in Shakahola forest that has been associated with the Good News International church and its leader Paul Mackenzie, the Judiciary has continued to unravel more into the controversial self-proclaimed preacher’s run-ins with the law over the recent years.

The body count from the deadly starvation cult as at Thursday evening, the seventh day of the exhumation operation, stood at 109 – with more expected to be discovered as the exercise goes on.

This also comes as a multitude of Kenyans and human rights activists have questioned whether the police as well as judicial officers have been complicit in the crimes committed by Mackenzie and his church, which is said to have been started almost two decades ago.

The Judiciary has now shared the status of cases that are or have been before the court regarding charges preferred against cult leader Mackenzie and his co-accused.

According to the statement released on Thursday evening, Mackenzie has a court history dating back to March 2017.

In that particular case, Mackenzie and two other accused were jointly charged with the offence of offering Basic Education in an un-registered institution.

The three later entered into a plea bargain with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and were discharged by the trial court and ordered to be of good behaviour.

Mackenzie was later arraigned on October 17, 2017 on four counts. The charges included radicalisation, and failing to take his children to compulsory primary and secondary school. He pleaded not guilty and was acquitted on October 29, 2021.

On April 11, 2019, Mackenzie was charged with three counts, including incitement to disobedience of the law and being in possession of and distributing films to the public which had not been examined and approved by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB).

He again pleaded not guilty in this case. The matter is coming up for defence hearing on June 26 this year.

Mackenzie was mentioned in five separate miscellaneous criminal applications. One in 2017 saw him and 20 others held for seven days on grounds that they were to carry out investigations for radicalization of children after they were found with 73 children in a church.

The other four emanated from the ongoing Shakahola investigations, including one in particular that connected Mackenzie to the murder of two children in Shakahola. That application was later dismissed for lack of merit.

The other applications were for the exhumation of remains of 14 unknown bodies, while another application allowed for the exhumation of the 800 acre Shakahola land.

The Good News International Church owned by Mackenzie was also involved in a children protection and care matter in October 2017, as well as a criminal case in March 2019 and a criminal application involving three individuals that was heard on Thursday.

This all serving as a backdrop as the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) starts probing judicial officers who handled the controversial televangelist's cases to establish whether there was any misconduct.


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