The alleged Cult leader Paul Mackenzie and his other 28 co-accused persons have asked the Office of the Directorate of Public Prosecutions to charge them with “whatever offenses” and save them from prolonged detention without trial.
Mackenzie through his lawyer Wycliff Makasembo told the court that his continued detention by the state is tantamount to abuse of his rights.
This comes after the DPP on September 15, applied to continue holding Mackenzie and his co-accused for a further 180 days pending trial.
However, the application took time to be heard, following back-and-forth requests from both the prosecution and defense for additional days to respond and counter-respond.
As of November 21, 2023, Mackenzie had spent 220 days in police and prison custody since his arrest on April 15 although he has never been formally charged.
Mackenzie and his associates are accused of planning and abetting the deaths of 429 persons whose bodies have been exhumed from Shakahola.
They are facing multiple charges including terrorism, murder, aiding suicide, abduction, radicalization, genocide, crimes against humanity, child cruelty, fraud, and money laundering.
They are yet to be officially charged.