Jack Marrian, the British aristocrat accused of smuggling £4.5million of cocaine into Kenya, is believed to be about to be cleared of all charges.
Two years after his arrest, Kenyan prosecutors are believed to have abandoned their case against the grandson of the late Earl of Cawdor, after new evidence provided by US anti-drug agents.
In a letter obtained by the Daily Mail through America’s Freedom of Information laws, the US Drug Enforcement Administration have made it clear Marrian knew nothing about the cocaine which arrived in a shipping container addressed to Mshale Commodities, the sugar-trading company he works for.
“It is clear from intelligence that the load was placed in the container unbeknownst to the owner of the sugar. This is a common occurrence used by traffickers in South America,” the letter reportedly says.
“The DEA would like to stress there was no indication the cocaine was to be received by anyone in Kenya or Uganda and that the company owning the consignment had no knowledge that the cocaine was secreted inside their shipment of sugar,” it adds.
Kenya’s anti-narcotics agency had previously sent a similar letter explaining his innocence, but the prosecution at that point refused to drop its increasingly threadbare case, arguing that Mr Marrian had to prove his innocence rather than the other way round.
But last year’s appointment of Noordin Haji, the new director of public prosecutions, may explain the climbdown. The respected reformer has embarked on a radical overhaul of a department known for its inefficiency and suspected of corruption. Such is his determination and professionalism that some Kenyans on social media have called on him to run for president.
Since his arrest during a night-time raid on his home in Kenya in July 2016, Marrian has been embroiled in a prolonged legal process with the threat of a 30-year sentence hanging over him if convicted by a Nairobi court.
After the latest hearing on Wednesday he said: “I’m extremely relieved but after all I’ve been through I won’t celebrate until the magistrate makes his formal ruling next week.”
The businessman’s family and Italian girlfriend Emanuela had gone with him to the hearing where prosecutor Jacob Ondari admitted new information had come to light.
“International drugs enforcement teams have helped to provide information that clears Marrian, tracing his consignment of sugar back through Spain to Brazil and have uncovered the real criminal source. His acquittal should be just a formality now,” Mr Ondari said.
At a court session next Thursday (31 January), Magistrate Derrick Koto will give his ruling on the prosecution’s request that Mr Marrian should be acquitted and the Briton’s nightmare should finally come to an end.
An acquital for Marrion will be another boost to Kenya’s international image after four police officers suspected of beating to death fellow British aristocrat, Alexander Monson, went on trial accused of his murder.