A former member of the South African Police, Vicey Molope, on Thursday failed to hide his disappointment and bended his head when Gaborone Chief Magistrate Lot Moroka sentenced him to 15 years imprisonment for the Coin Botswana company armed robbery which netted P1,160,257 on 6 June, 2004 in Gaborone.
The sentence Moroka ordered should run from the day the accused person was first taken into custody on the 26 of June 2004.
Before ordering that the sentence should run from the date he was arrested , Moroka, cautioned that his short research into the matter of back dating sentences has shown that ordering back dating of sentences was not a laid down rule but just a discretion on those passing sentences.
He also ordered that another South African, Oupa Mophomane, who, earlier in the trial, gave evidence as a state witness, be arrested and brought to Botswana to stand trial because it was obvious that he had actively taken part in the armed robbery and that he was not a reliable witness.
On the reasons for convicting Molope, he said that he was convinced that Molope was correctly identified by the staff of Coin Botswana in an identification parade carried out in South Africa as having been amongst the people who robbed them on the day in question.
This, he said, was the case because he had stood out as the person who was wearing a police uniform when the armed robbery was carried out and that the witnesses had ample time to look at him as they were surprised that he was wearing a police uniform yet was allowing a crime of such nature to take place in his presence.
He dismissed Molope’s submission that the identification was not carried out procedurally as the witnesses had earlier, on the day the identification parade was carried out, seen him being taken to Court saying that there was evidence that showed that the witnesses were not in South Africa that time but in Botswana when he was taken to Court in the morning.
Before the Court session started, Molope was jovial and passing jokes with the state prosecutor and the Investigating Officer, Superintendent Miriam Kilano, on how the trial had gone since it started as well as what witnesses had said when giving evidence.
That mood changed after conviction and after Moroka had adjourned trial for a short time, before sentencing him, he looked sad and was then quiet and always had his head between his hands and his eyes down cast. It took the investigation officer to get him to talk once more.
Outside the Court, he was overheard saying that he was going to make sure that he told the Court everything he knew about the armed robbery when the time comes.
He also complained that his friends, who were always coming to Botswana to do business, had forsaken him.
After that he was on the cell phone for long periods of time talking to his relatives in South Africa but he also accused his relatives for having forsaken him.