Kenya’s High Court acquitted a British aristocrat on Thursday of smuggling cocaine in a shipment of sugar, ending a high-profile case that captured public interest in how the justice system would treat the scion of a prominent colonial-era family.
One hundred kilos of cocaine, said to be worth around $6 million, were seized from a shipping container owned by sugar trader Jack Marrian in the Kenyan port of Mombasa in July 2016. Mr Marrian’s colleague Roy Mwanthi was also charged.
Mr Marrian, grandson of a Scottish earl, has always maintained that they were framed. The prosecution applied to terminate the case for lack of evidence, but six weeks ago a magistrate in a lower court refused to drop the charges.
“The court was in essence directing a prosecution against accused persons against the wish of the prosecution, without a complainant and a prosecutor,” High Court Judge Luka Kimaru wrote in Thursday’s ruling dismissing the case.
“Hugely relieved that after so long the prosecution has had the courage to do the right thing,” Mr Marrian told Reuters via a message on WhatsApp. The case against Mr Mwanthi was also dropped.
During the trial the defence team presented a letter from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) stating that Marrian, 33, could have had no knowledge that the drugs were stashed in a shipment which was en route from Brazil to Uganda.