Convicted murderer Nqaba Charles and state prosecutor Jason Thysse were locked in a tense stare-down as the former was sentenced in the Port Elizabeth High Court yesterday to an effective 18 years behind bars .
Charles, 26, who was convicted of murdering off-duty police officer Constable Devin Hattingh in July 2014, was visibly angry as Judge Phakamisa Tshiki handed down the sentence.
For the majority of the proceedings Charles sat in the dock shooting daggers at Thysse, who returned his gaze with a cool smile.
Hattingh, 31, was killed while working as a private security guard, escorting a furniture delivery vehicle to a residence in Motherwell.
Charles shot Hattingh three times. Police responded to the scene and Charles opened fire on them as well.
Tshiki sentenced Charles to 18 years for murder, 10 years for attempted murder, 15 years for the unlawful possession of a firearm and 10 years for the unlawful possession of ammunition.
The judge ordered that the sentences run concurrently, effectively handing down an 18-year jail term.
Tshiki said the defence offered few reasons in mitigation of sentence.
They argued that Charles had no previous convictions, was the father of a minor daughter, and had a diploma in graphic design.
Tshiki, however, agreed with Thysse’s argument that there was nothing special about his circumstances.
The deceased’s father, John Hattingh, felt a heavier punishment would have been more fitting.
“This is very disappointing. I am glad the case is over, but this was not the outcome I had hoped for,” he said.
“What if he gets time off his sentence? He could be out in less than 10 years.”
After proceedings, defence advocate Jodene Coertzen, with the help of the court interpreter, explained the sentence to Charles’s family.