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 was sentenced by the 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. - Sapa