The High Court in Zomba has freed former Machinga Central member of Parliament (MP) Ellock Maotcha Banda who was sentenced to six years imprisonment for child abduction.
Banda, who is also former deputy minister of Trade and Industry, was sentenced in September 2015 on a charge of abducting a 17-year-old girl.
In the same year, he appealed his case to the High Court whose judgement was delivered on Tuesday this week.
The judgment is coming after Banda has been at Zomba Prison for 40 months and 13 days.
His lawyer Timothy John Chirwa said the court heard that Banda did not abduct a child because the 2010 Child Care, Protection and Justice Act, in effect then, defined a child as one who was under 16.
Parliament in 2017 revised Section 23 of the Constitution to define a child as a person aged below 18.
Chirwa said: “I am happy that Judge Redson Kapindu has interpreted it well and finally my client is free.”
In an interview after his release, Banda said he was happy to be released though he felt the judgement took too long to deliver.
“You can imagine an appeal was made in 2015 only to be heard in 2019. It was tough being in prison for 40 months and 13 days. Anyway, I just thank God for everything,” he said.
Banda was MP between 2004 and 2009 during the Bingu administration.