Wednesday, May 29, 2024
Home > Counties > Mackenzie jailed for 12 months for possessing, distributing unclassified films

Mackenzie jailed for 12 months for possessing, distributing unclassified films

Malindi Senior Resident Magistrate Olga Juma Onalo also sentenced the beleaguered preacher of the now-closed Good News International Church to six months imprisonment for operating a filming studio and producing films without a valid filming licence from KFCB. The sentences will run concurrently.

In giving out her sentence, Ms. Onalo said she had considered the fact that the convict was 50 years old, his remorsefulness, the fact that he learnt his lesson and closed down his church and relocated, and that he sold off his TV station.

“I also consider the length of time taken for this case to be concluded, the resources used, and the fact that he is a family man who is depended upon for the family’s source of livelihood,” she said.

Onalo, however, noted that Mackenzie was a repeat offender since he had earlier been charged with the offence of possessing and exhibiting unclassified films, and that although that may not have been intentional, the convict should have refrained from repeating the offence.

“Indeed, it is true that the long-haul effects on the viewers of the unauthorised content are grave and have a tumultuous effect in the long run,” she said, handing him a jail term of 12 months for possessing and exhibiting the unclassified films.

“In respect to count three, the accused person’s explanation of not knowing the need for a licence from KFCB having obtained a broadcasting one is reasonable, though not entirely acceptable, as ignorance of the law is no defence, hence the resulting conviction,” she said before sentencing him to six months imprisonment.

Mackenzie, who has been in custody since March 2023 for allegedly orchestrating the deaths of more than 400 of his followers due to his alleged fasting to die teachings, was brought to court under tight security.

Last month, Onalo found Mackezie guilty of the two charges but acquitted him on the first count, in which the preacher had been accused of incitement to disobedience of the law, saying the prosecution had not proved the charge to the required standard.

The magistrate then sought a pre-sentencing report, which was submitted to court on Friday.

The report signed by Assistant Director Nick M. Makuu recommended that Mackenzie be given a custodial sentence, despite noting that Mackenzie had committed the offence in ignorance and was remorseful.

The report that was submitted by prosecuting counsel Joseph Mwangi said it would be practically impossible to carry out non-custodial supervision and rehabilitation of the offender since he is already in custody with no bond terms.

“Your honour, given the above findings and the current circumstances of the offender, where he is in custody with no bond terms and no clear line of sight towards the likelihood of him being bonded, a non-custodial supervision and rehabilitation option is practically not possible,” the report read.
According to the report, Mackenzie thought the acquisition of a broadcasting licence from the Communication Authority of Kenya (CA), which his church used to carry out broadcasting activities, was enough and that he was not aware of the existence of the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB).
Defence Lawyer James Mouko mounted a spirited fight, seeking to convince the court to give his client the least severe punishment, basing his argument on Article 50 of the Kenya Constitution 2010 on the rights of accused persons.
He asked the magistrate to use her discretion and not rely on the recommendations of the probation officer, a position that was opposed by Mr. Mwangi.

By Emmanuel Masha

Leave a Reply