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In Kenya British sugar trader bailed in cocaine haul case

Magistrate Derrick Kuto said Marrian, who has lived in East Africa since early childhood, had to post a bond of 70 million shillings ($690,600) with two Kenyan sureties.

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British sugar trader bailed in Kenya cocaine haul case play

British national Jack Marrian (C), was charged after police in Mombasa seized 100 kilos of cocaine hidden in a sugar consignment ordered by his firm 


A young 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" had been arrested.

In a high-profile case, Jack Marrian, 31, was charged last Thursday after police in the eastern port city of Mombasa seized a 100-kilo (220 pounds) stash of cocaine in a sugar consignment ordered by British firm ED&F Man.

Magistrate Derrick Kuto said Marrian, who has lived in East Africa since early childhood, had to post a bond of 70 million shillings ($690,600) with two Kenyan sureties.

Kuto also said Marrian had to surrender his passport given the seriousness of the charge. He could face a life sentence if convicted.

Dressed in a grey-blue suit and patterned tie, Marrian showed little emotion during the hearing, except to smile 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 in this case, "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 against the bail decision on the grounds that the investigation is not yet complete and they believe Marrian is a flight risk.

- Life of privilege -

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 his 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.

His father confirmed the firms Marrian works for -- Kenya- and Uganda-based Mshale commodities and London-based ED&F Man -- were backing him "100 percent".

In a statement released late Monday, a Mshale spokeswoman said it would continue to provide support "to ensure that justice is done based on facts and evidence; we are confident that Jack will be fully exonerated once the facts are presented."

Roy Francis Mwanthi, a Kenyan facing similar charges, was also freed on a 60-million-shilling bond with two Kenyan sureties. 

The trial opens on October 3.

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