By Krishnee Naidoo
A Lotus Park family has been left both shattered and outraged after the man who pleaded guilty to ramming into their 18-year-old daughter was handed down what they believe was a ‘soft sentence’ and a travesty of justice.
Leeash Pillay, the driver of the vehicle that ploughed into Halima Bibi Shaik and her two friends who were returning home from their exam at the intersection of Lotus Drive and Acalypha Crescent in September last year, was handed down a five-year suspended sentence, and R20 000 fine in the Durban Magistrate’s Court on 28 September.
The sentencing devastated Halima’s dad, Mohamed Shaik, and sent him straight to the Intensive Care Unit with severe heart complications. He is currently still in hospital.
Speaking to the Southern Star, an aggrieved Zakiyya Shaik, (33), sister of Halima, said the family reeled with shock and horror at the ‘joke of a sentence’ that was handed down in court.
“During that time in court, it was as if our baby-girl Halima died all over again. My dad was broken and is in hospital because he felt there was no justice for his baby. That childkiller, Leeash Pillay, walks free with only a R20, 000 fine yet he knocked my baby sister dead. He entered our lives as an unwelcomed guest and destroyed our happiness and peace of mind in the blink of an eye and he still enjoys his freedom. My family and I can never forget what he did to my baby sister. We will never forget or forgive that child-killer. We ask the community to pray for our dad at this time, that he may recover and come home to us strong again,” Zakiyya added.
Pillay’s driver’s licence was also revoked for the next five years.
In an interview with the Southern Star, Zarina Assan, Halima’s aunt, said, “The justice system failed us. A man walks free after taking a child’s life so callously and then to add insult to injury the price of R20, 000 is set as a fine. Is that what the life of a young daughter and sister amounts to these days? It is mind-blowing how the accused who was declared unfit to drive in 2011 after he apparently was declared an epileptic still got behind the wheel of a vehicle, took an innocent life, left a family broken and yet walks free. Where is the justice in that? How soon before he breaks the law again, God-forbid take another life, and walks free with a slap on the wrist? Halima’s family has been plunged in to mourning and heartache once again and it is unknown if they will ever recover from this devastation.”