Court orders DPP to reduce Makenzi's murder charges

Preacher Paul Makenzi. [Robert Menza, Standard]

The High Court in Malindi has ordered the Director of Public Prosecution to reduce murder charges against preacher Paul Makenzi and his co-accused from 191 to 12.

 Justice Mugure Thande said the prosecution’s decision to overload the charge sheet was not in the interest of the public or administration of justice. The judge said the 191 counts would put immense burden on the judge and jury, describing them as oppressive and a violation of the rights of the accused.

 “I direct the prosecution within 21 days to file amended information with reduced counts not exceeding 12,” the judge ruled yesterday.

 In March, the defense counsels led by Wycliffe Makesembo, made an application to have the murder accounts reduced. Makenzi and 29 others are charged with the murder of 191 children inside the Shakahola forest in Kilifi County.