The Phalombe First Grade Magistrate court has convicted and sentenced a Bible believers church pastor for defiling his 13-year-old follower.

Presenting the facts in court, Phalombe police station prosecutor Inspector Hartwell Kachikonga told the court that on several times the suspect, John Mkumbira, used to take the girl up Michesi hills allegedly to pray with her.

According to Kachikonga, between the month of July and August 2018, the man of God allegedly defiled the girl while up in the hills on the disguise that he has been told by God that by doing so she would grow spiritually.

Following a report, police arrested and charged Mkumbira with an offence of defilement contravening section 138 of the penal code.

Appearing before his worship Damson Banda on Wednesday Mkumbira pleaded not guilty to the charge forcing police to parade witnesses to prove the charge.

Satisfied with the evidence, magistrate Banda convicted the pastor. In his submission, Inspector Hartwell kachikonga prayed for a stiffer punishment to deter other would-be-offenders.

“Giving the pastor a tough punishment will give others a lesson” Kachikonga said.

In his mitigation, Mkumbira asked for leniency saying he is a married man hence having a family to take care of.

However, the magistrate quashed the mitigation describing it as baseless. Instead he agreed with the state that nowadays defilement cases are rampart in the district hence the need for stiff custodial sentences. His worship Banda then sentenced Mkumbira to 11years imprisonment with hard labour.

Aged 32, John Mkumbira hails from Mbodi village, traditional authority Mkhumba in the district.

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