A Mombasa court ordered that self-proclaimed preacher Pastor Paul Mackenzie and 38 of his co-accused be served with witness statements and exhibits in the ongoing child cruelty and torture case against them. 

The verdict was issued on Tuesday by Mariakani Law Courts Senior Resident Magistrate Nelly Chepchirchir in the absence of Mackenzie's lawyer, Wycliffe Makasembo. 

Magistrate Chepchirchir also ordered Mackenzie and his co-accused to remain in prison until their case is heard and decided, following the prosecution's request to oppose their release on bond.

"Having considered the nature of offences that the accused persons are charged with and the need to safeguard the best interests of the children who are witnesses in this matter and whom the accused may or have authority over, I find that these are compelling reasons to warrant all the accused persons to be denied bond at this point," the judge ruled.

She also ordered that the case hearing be expedited to ensure all parties receive justice. 

Mackenzie and his co-accused are facing 17 charges under the Children Act 2012, the Prevention of Torture Act 2017, and the Basic Education Act 2013. 

The charges include two counts of torturing a child, with an alternative charge of assault causing bodily harm, nine counts of cruelty to a child, and six counts of violating a child's right to education.

All 39 accused have denied the charges, and the case is set to be heard on May 2, 2024.