By Libuseng Nyaka
QWAQWA- Father of Dimpho Motang who was brutally murdered 10 years ago , has expressed disappointment in the 12- year prison sentence imposed on his killer ,which he described as ‘too lenient’.
Thabo Titi, 39, who was convicted of murder earlier in May this year, was sentenced to 12 years in prison by Phuthaditjhaba regional court magistrate Sonwabo Mgudlwa last Friday.
According to evidence before court, Titi shot dead Dimpho Motang on September 17, 2011, in full view of his younger brother Thabo Motang,27, poured petrol on his corpse and instructed him (Thabo) to torch the body.
Titi’s act, the court heard , was retaliation provoked by the deceased who had damaged his property.
Handing down the sentence Magistrate Mgudlwa concurred with Titi’s counsel Kaibe Kaibe’s compelling mitigation to deviate from the minimum sentence of 15- year jail term, namely that case delay of over 10 years has impacted negatively on the convict, financially and life in full.
He took into consideration the fact that Titi was 10 years younger when he was first arrested, and the delays in the proceeding of the case which was not of his making has also put his life on hold and that he never committed any crime during his 10 years of waiting for completion of the trial.
While previous convictions are considered, Titi’s three previous convictions did not add any value in sentencing as they happened 20 years ago and law dictates for conviction over 10 years not to be used.
In mitigation, Kaibe pleaded with the court to consider that Titi has already spent 10 years before he could be sentenced – a delay that was not of his own making and had put his life on hold.
Kaibe also painted the convict as a candidate for rehabilitation, who never committed any crime during his trial.
However, Mguldlwa factored in aggravating factors submitted by State prosecutor Mandla Matonsi, who read a statement made by father of the deceased Sidwell Motang,60.
Mgudlwa said he had noted that during the entire trial up until sentencing, Titi never showed any remorse which is an important aspect when mitigating for lesser sentencing and that the manner in which the deceased was murdered was in human.
In his written aggravating factors Motang a 60 -year old amputee told the court through the state prosecutor Mandla Matonsi:
“Although this case occurred in September ,17, 2011, each time I come to this court and face his killer, it is like it happened yesterday. I experience trauma and it is like opening old wounds. The accused also looked at me with an attitude.
“There is nothing painful than burying your own son who has been the bread winner, you hoped would bury you. The deceased has a daughter who he was deprived an opportunity to raise.”
In an interview with the publication after the sentencing Motang said what disappointed him most was a distortion of facts. “Even though a heavier sentence would not bring back my son , I would find closure. I am also not happy in the manner in which facts were distorted. Part of the delays of this case was a result of convict changing lawyers after firing them.”