Suspected Shakahola cult leader Paul Mackenzie has been sentenced to one year in prison after he was found guilty of operating a film studio and producing films without a valid license.
Malindi Senior Resident Magistrate Olga Onalo said that the prosecution had proved its case beyond reasonable doubt that the suspect was operating a film studio through his Times TV without a proper license.
Onalo further sentenced Mackenzie to an additional six months in jail for showing the films to members of the public and his congregants without an operating license.
"I hereby sentence the suspect to twelve months in prison in relation to count two," Onalo ruled.
The magistrate further slapped Mackenzie with an additional sentence of six months.
She ordered that the sentences will run concurrently.
In his mitigation, Mackenzie told the court that he was not aware of the need for a license from the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) to allow him to operate his television channel.
"I did not know that broadcasting my TV channel without a valid license from the board was an offense, l ask for leniency," Mackenzie pleaded.
However, the magistrate in her quick rejoinder pointed out that ignorance of the law as a defense was not acceptable.
Mackenzie was facing various charges among them operating a television channel without a license, inciting the public to disobey the law, and using cinematographic films to incite children in his church against attending school among others.
The controversial pastor is being held in custody at the Shimo La Tewa GK prison awaiting a ruling by the Shanzu court on whether it will allow the state application that seeks to have him detained for 360 more days.
He is being investigated in relation to various crimes among them indoctrination of faithfuls, cruelty to children, and reported deaths inside the Shakahola forest.
He was allowed 14 days to appeal his sentence.