Ex-cop jailed for eight years

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MASERU — A former police officer, Mothobi Moholi, was on Monday slapped with an eight-year jail term without an option of a fine after he was convicted of murder.
Moholi, who had claimed he killed Thabiso Hlao in self defence on July 1 1995, was two weeks ago found guilty of murder by the High Court.
Acting High Court Judge Teboho Moiloa on Monday lashed out at the police for abusing their power in the course of discharging their duties.
“We cannot accept a situation where police readily take the life of members of society with weapons,” Justice Moiloa said while delivering judgment.
“I have emphasised that I will not tolerate that the police take the lives of the people. If it was not for your poor health, I would have committed you to a longer custodial sentence.”
Justice Moiloa then slapped Moholi with an eight-year jail term with no option of a fine.
The judge said he had taken into consideration the fact that Moholi was a first-time offender and had lived with the burden of the crime for 15 years.
This was a heavy burden to carry, the judge said.
He said Moholi had also been ineligible for promotion within the police service as a result of the murder case.
“In 14 years you have been ineligible for promotion with regard to this case. The police authority told you that you would not be legible for promotion.
“You are the protector of life but you took the life of a youth. I wonder what perception the police are giving to the public,” he said.
Justice Moiloa said the murder case had clearly shown that the justice delivery system was failing the public.
The judge said the delay in bringing the case to court was a heavy burden on the accused and had negatively affected the memories of witnesses.
“Every memory becomes affected adversely. Some of the witnesses died while waiting for the matter (to be resolved).
“The family of the deceased had to wait for the (resolution) of this matter. This is unacceptable, their pain has to be healed quickly,” he said.
Hlao’s father, Monyane Hlao, said he was satisfied with the verdict and sentence.
Moholi had told the court during trial that he shot Hlao who was wanted in connection with a case of armed robbery in self-defence.
But the judge dismissed the claims saying Moholi had ‘concocted’ the story to save his skin.
Moholi was represented by Advocate Mosoeunyane Masiphole and crown was represented by crown counsel Sefako Seema.

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