The High Court in Mzuzu has set free an inmate at Mzimba Prison who is suffering from multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) to protect others from the infectious disease.
The inmate, Richard Banda, was convicted on July 20 2018 and has been serving a four-year jail term for house-breaking and theft.
He, however, was diagnosed with MDR-TB, a highly contagious type of TB infection while in custody which prison officials feared might put other prisoners at risk.
In a ruling dated October 10 2018, High Court Judge Dorothy DeGabriele ordered prison authorities to release the inmate from custody with immediate effect.
It reads: “Whereas Richard Banda of Yobe Village, Traditional Authority Mpherembe in Mzimba was on July 20 convicted for house-breaking, contrary to Section 309  [a] of the Penal Code, … You are required, forthwith, to release the said Richard Banda from custody, unless he is being held for the other lawful reasons.”
In an interview, Mzimba Prison spokesperson Mcpharlane Gondwe said the prison received the order on Friday and have since set the inmate free.
Banda is one of the six inmates from Maula and Mzimba prisons diagnosed with MDR-TB who were granted an interim injunction by the High Court in Zomba last week, preventing hospitals from returning them to prisons.