The trial of a Scottish aristocrat charged with smuggling 100kg of cocaine into Kenya is on the verge of collapse after prosecution lawyers withdrew their case against him on Thursday.
After an often bewildering 30-month ordeal in the Kenyan courts, Jack Marrian, the nephew of the Earl of Cawdor, is all but certain to be acquitted when the presiding judge delivers his ruling on Jan 31st.
Lawyers for Mr Marrian, 33, had been due to begin to their defence when the prosecution, unexpectedly and without explanation, submitted a written application stating that they no longer had a case to present.
The intervention was greeted with undisguised relief by Mr Marrian, who faced a 30-year prison sentence if convicted, and his family.
“We are delighted that the prosecution have dropped all of the charges,” Mr Marrian’s father David, a Nairobi-based artist, said. “The judge obviously feels he needs to deliberate so we will get a final verdict a week today but now there’s no prosecution, there is no case to answer really.”
The prosecution’s change of heart represents a dramatic climbdown after its legal team doggedly persisted in its case despite mounting evidence absolving Mr Marrian, a sugar trader who has lived in Kenya since he was four.