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.