Student cop gets 17 years

2012-12-04 13:03
Convicted murderer student constable Sipho Mbatha has been sentenced by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to 17 years in prison. (Pic: Loanna Hoffmann)

Convicted murderer student constable Sipho Mbatha has been sentenced by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg to 17 years in prison. (Pic: Loanna Hoffmann)

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Johannesburg - Convicted murderer student constable Sipho Mbatha was sentenced by the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday to 17 years in prison, with five years suspended.

"Five of that is suspended on condition that you are not convicted of any offence ranging from common assault to murder," ruled Judge Kathleen Satchwell.

Mbatha rose to his feet, looking composed, and was hugged and kissed by his wife.

In August Mbatha was found guilty of killing 16-year-old Thato Mokoka. Satchwell said there had been no evidence to dispute that Mbatha's actions were not intentional.

Mbatha shot Mokoka dead in February while the teenager was lying on his stomach outside his grandmother's house. Police were conducting a raid at the house after Mokoka was accused of being part of a gang terrorising local residents.

Mokoka's family cried inconsolably outside court.

His great-grandmother said the family would "release" Mbatha, as all was done now.

Mbatha, took a private moment with his wife and son before his sentencing.

His wife had been weeping silently while awaiting proceedings, when they were led out of court for a private moment.

Later on, Mbatha, wife and son returned to court composed and took a seat on a bench directly behind him as he sat in the dock.

As sentencing began, Judge Kathleen Satchwell said it would be a rather long sentence to deliver.

She said it should be taken into consideration that Mbatha shot and killed Mokoka while on duty and not during a robbery.

But, she also said, a young life had been taken.

"He was unarmed. His death was a murder and a terrible loss of life," she said.

Read more on:    police  |  thato mokoka  |  sipho mbatha  |  johannesburg  |  soweto

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