Richard Mdluli's crime only deserves a fine, lawyer tells court

Richard Mdluli’s (File, Beeld)
Richard Mdluli’s (File, Beeld)

Former crime intelligence boss Richard Mdluli’s lawyer has asked that the Gauteng High Court give his client a fine rather than throwing him in jail. 

Mdluli and his fellow former cop Mthembeni Mthunzi were found guilty last year of assaulting and kidnapping Mdluli's late customary wife, Tshidi Buthelezi, Oupa Ramogibe and Alice Manana in 1998.

Buthelezi died from an illness while Ramogibe was gunned down in 1999.

Motloung said during sentencing proceedings on Thursday that a fine was "a more proper" sentence. He even panned recommendations by State witnesses that Mdluli be given community service. He was arguing in mitigation of Mdluli's sentence.

"Initially, I was more inclined to go with the sentence recommended by two social workers, that of correctional supervision. It looks like correctional supervision will still be hard on Mdluli.

"Social worker Portia Morudi-Dabishi painted a picture of where my client does community services and is ordered to clean a police station where he was a commander, and later national commander of the police intelligence division. That for me is still too hard.

"What useful purpose, if any, would be served by sending the two accused to direct imprisonment? Revenge, yes it will do," Motloung said.

Convicted on 6 counts

"My client was initially faced with all 12 counts and was only found guilty on six counts - two counts of kidnapping, assault common and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. Where is the evidence on these charges is?

"The only evidence is that of Manana, who is a single witness, and who testified on all six charges. For all intents and purposes, the six counts are a single act," Motloung told judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng.

Motloung said Mdluli had been an exemplary servant to the people of the country.

"He has given 38 years of his adult life as a protector of society. He started as a labourer and at some stage became a teacher.

"He worked himself up and ended up with a degree. He had to drop out of school in Standard 8 and later returned to his studies.

"There is a single dark spot on the history of my client. Does this warrant him going to jail? Does he pose a danger to society? Prison will serve no purpose," Motloung said.

READ | Richard Mdluli plans to appeal his conviction and upcoming sentence, court hears

"It is cold comfort that financially his children will be taken care of. He is not only a caregiver to his family, he is a pillar not only to his immediate family but to his extended family too," Motloung said.

Motloung said the matter was a crime of passion on an "undisputed and unchallenged facts".

Married

"Mdluli was married to Buthelezi and their child was 5 years old at the time. This is a married man who accommodated his wife and child.

"The State failed to prove that he was hiding the docket. They (the State and and police) decided to do their job 22 years down the line.

"He was arrested in March 2011. He has been on trial ever since and has never found peace. Charges were later withdrawn and were reinstated. That in itself is a mitigating factor," Motloung said.

Motloung said Mdluli has already been punished in many ways due to negative publicity.

"There is no one in this country who doesn't know how 'dirty' he is. It is lingering in many minds that he killed Ramogibe and he was never charged for that.

"He was detained for 21 days while awaiting bail. If you were to sentence him for another 21 days in jail for the six charges that happened on one day, I will say it is still heavy on my client. He has been punished to a great extent," Motloung testified.

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