Student police constable Sipho Mbatha, accused of shooting dead Soweto teenager Thato Mokoka, appears in the High Court in Johannesburg on Monday, 6 August 2012.Mbatha allegedly killed 16-year-old Mokoka in Bramfischerville, Soweto, on February 14. The teenager was shot seven times with an R5 rifle, while lying on the ground on his stomach outside the home of his grandmother, Sybil Mokoka. Mbatha claims he bent over to search Mokoka when the shots went off. Picture: Werner Beukes/SAPA

Johannesburg - Convicted murderer, student constable Sipho Mbatha, took a private moment with his wife and son before his sentencing in the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

Mbatha's 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 16-year-old Thato 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.

Mokoka was shot dead by Mbatha in February, this year.

Sentencing continues.

Sapa