Director of Public Prosecutions Noordin Haji has succeeded in his bid to transfer from Mombasa to Kilifi, the case of a Turkish tycoon charged with 10 counts of defilement and child prostitution.
The case that was being tried at a Shanzu court will now be heard at one in Malindi.
The transfer application was granted after it emerged that the suspect, Elsek Osman Erdinc, is a friend of the court and the State prosecutor at the Shanzu court, factors likely to influence the outcome of the case.
Shanzu Senior Resident Magistrate David Odhiambo said it was in the interest of justice for the matter be tried elsewhere, also considering that the suspect is also a member of the Court Users Committee therein.
"The accused is well known to the court and is a friend to a prosecutor. It goes without saying that given his close relations to the station, it is in the interest of justice that the case be heard outside the station," he said.
The magistrate added that though the court had jurisdiction to hear the case, it was necessary to transfer it as Mr Osman had engaged in several construction projects at the station.
Senior Assistant DPP Ingonga Mulele had asked the court to transfer the matter to Malindi court over undue influence.
"The offence was committed within the jurisdiction of the Malindi court so we are within the law to have the case heard outside Mombasa," he had said.
Defence Lawyers Cliff Ombeta and Daniel Wamotsa protested, accusing the prosecution of forum-shopping to delay the matter.
Mr Osman is accused of defiling a 15-year-old girl and forcing three others to massage his private parts.
The charge sheet states that he forced the four minors to do so between February and October 2018, while they lived at his residence at Kikambala in Mtwapa, Kilifi County.
The prosecutor said the suspect lured his victims to his bedroom on numerous occasions and forced them to massage him using olive oil.
Mr Osman is further charged with committing indecent acts with children by touching their breasts and using his influence to procure the minors for indecent acts, as in child prostitution.
The accused, who was arrested at his home on January 23, denied the charges before magistrate Odhiambo.
The DPP opposed the tycoon's release on bond arguing he was likely to interfere with investigations due to his influence.
Mr Haji added that the victims, aged 14 to 17, told investigations that the suspect had threatened them with dire consequences including causing them to disappear without a trace.
The State argued that Mr Osman took advantage of the minors’ poor backgrounds to sexually abuse them.
“The accused purported to be returning favours for assistance that he would render them, such as paying for their education and meeting their other social needs,” police said in an affidavit on denying the suspect bond.
Two human rights groups made filed applications for the minors to undergo age assessment.
"We have been reliable informed that the minors are being held incommunicado and that their parents and guardians have been unable to access and communicate with them since they were taken to the police station to record statements before the arrest of the accused," the lobbies said through their lawyer Maurice Mkhan.
Mr Osman, who is out on a Sh700,000 cash bail, was returned to court to record a statement on the alleged forgery of the birth certificate of one of the victims.
The case will be mentioned at a Malindi court on March 11.