NAIROBI (Reuters) - A Kenyan court on Friday acquitted British citizen Jermaine John Grant of robbery with violence over an incident in 2008, a charge that could have carried the death penalty, but he faces another trial over a planned attack in Kenya in December.
Kenyan police suspect Grant, an east Londoner, has ties to the al Shabaab rebel group blamed by the authorities for a string of attacks in the port city of Mombasa, Nairobi and in the remote hinterlands bordering Somalia.
"The prosecution has failed to prove its case against the accused on all the charges and I therefore set him free," chief Nairobi magistrate, Kiarie Waweru Kiarie, told the court in a trial over robbery with violence charges.
Grant, who has served a two-and-half-year jail term for being in Kenya illegally, was escorted by prison officers from the court after the ruling. He still faces trial in Mombasa after being accused of possessing explosives.
The Briton and his co-accused are charged with planning an attack after being found with bomb-making material that included batteries, wire, ammonium nitrate, lead nitrate, acetone and hydrogen peroxide.
Security sources say Grant had design plans of hotels and restaurants frequented by Somali government officials, Western expatriates and Ethiopians.
Kenyan police allege he worked with Samantha Lewthwaite, the widow of a suicide bomber involved in the July 2005 attacks in London. She is wanted by Kenyan police on terror related charges but is still on the run.
Grant's case in Mombasa resumes on September 23.
(Reporting by Humphrey Malalo; Writing by Edmund Blair; Editing by Richard Lough and Mike Collett-White)