By The COAST Reporter
Good News International Church preacher Paul Nthenge Mackenzie appeared in a Malindi court for mentioning from a case in which he is accused of violating laws relating to film classification on June 30, 2023.
The accused, who has been in police custody for more than three months following the infamous Shakahola tragedy where 338 of his followers have so far been confirmed dead, is accused of using unclassified films to incite children against going to school.
Mackenzie, appeared before Resident Magistrate Irene Tamara, for the mention of the case that has been pending since 2019.
The media, however, was only allowed to take pictures and leave the courtroom as the sitting magistrate instructed that she would only enter her court room once journalists departed from it.
She is reportedly said to be sitting on behalf of a judicial colleague handling the case and did not want to be quoted on it by the media.
“The magistrate is uncomfortable with your presence in the courtroom and has suggested you take pictures, then leave,” has said that she will not enter the courtroom as long as there are journalists inside. Therefore, just take pictures and leave,” said a female court orderly.
Immediately after the picture session, the accused was quickly whisked out of the courtroom.
In this case, Mackenzie is facing three counts of incitement to disobedience of the law, possessing and distributing to the public films which have not been classified by the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) and producing films without a valid licence from the board.
Count one states that on April 11, 2019 in Malindi town of Kilfi County, jointly with others not before court, he was found in possession of cinematographic films intended to incite children against attending school.
The films, according to the police, had incitement materials against Hindus, Buddhists and Muslims.
In the second count, the accused is charged that on different dates between January 1, 2019 and April 11, 2019 at the Good News International Church in Malindi town, together with others not before court, he was found exhibiting films to the public through Times Television which had not been examined and classified by KFCB.
Mackenzie was also charged that on April 11, 2019, at the same venue, jointly with others not before court, he was found operating a filming studio and producing films for public consumption without first registering as a film agent or acquiring a filming licence.
He denied the charges and was f reed on a Sh500,000 cash bail with an alternative bond of Sh1 million before he was rearrested in connection with the Shakahola deaths, where 338 of his followers have confirmed dead after allegedly influenced to starve to death to meet Jesus Christ.