British sugar trader bailed in Kenya cocaine haul case
08 August 2016, 15:45
Nairobi, Aug 8, 2016 (AFP) -A British sugar trader facing charges of trafficking cocaine worth $5.8 million was bailed on Monday by a Nairobi court, with his lawyer declaring "the wrong man" was being targeted over a tampered shipment from Brazil.
Jack Marrian, 31, from an aristocratic family has lived in east Africa since early childhood. He was charged Thursday after police in the eastern port city of Mombasa seized 100 kilos (220 pounds) of cocaine hidden in a sugar consignment ordered by his firm.
Magistrate Derrick Kuto said the Briton had to post a bond of 70 million shillings ($690,600) with two Kenyan sureties and must surrender his passport given the seriousness of the charge, which if convicted could see him face a life sentence.
Dressed in a light blue suit and patterned tie, Marrian showed little emotion during the hearing, except smiling once at his parents across the packed courtroom.
Defence lawyer Sheetal Kapila told AFP he believed the case was driven by the authorities' desire "to stop Kenya being a transit point" for drugs, but added that "it's the wrong man who's been picked up."
"Unknown people have smuggled this drug into the consignment," Kapila said.
Mombasa on Africa's east coast has long been used as a hub for drugs bound for Asia and Europe.
The prosecution has appealed the bail decision on the grounds that the investigation is not yet complete and they believe Marrian is a flight risk.
The young businessman's case has caused a sensation in his native Britain, where the aristocratic background of his mother Lady Emma Clare Campbell of Cawdor and attendance of top private schools, including the alma mater of Prince William's wife Catherine, have caught the eye of the tabloid press.
His family's relationship with Kenya dates back decades, his lawyer said, as Marrian's grandfather had served as a minister in the colonial government just before independence in 1963.
His father David Marrian said he had spoken with his son daily since the arrest.
"We are pleased that the magistrate has given bail and now we have quite a lot of work to do," he told journalists after the hearing.
"I have no doubt that Jack will be exonerated," he added.