Bullets from father's gun may have killed Sadia but intent was to save his child - lawyer

2019-02-28 16:26

Strong points from prosecutor Kelvin Singh set the tone for proceedings during closing arguments in the murder trial of Sibonelo Mkhize, the man accused of playing a part in the death of Shallcross girl Sadia Sukhraj.

Singh came out strongly in defence of Sadia's father, Shailendra Sukhraj, who fired shots at the car as it drove away.

He said that while the bullets from the father's gun may have taken the girl's life, his intent was to save his child.

"It was not a gratuitous use of a firearm. He fired at the driver's door because he wanted his daughter back."

He said the fact that Mkhize crashed three times after hijacking the family also showed that he "tried to make good on his escape and shows how reckless he was".

"The fact that two shots penetrated Sadia is irrelevant. If any other person was in Mr Sukhraj's shoes, they would have done whatever they could to get their child back."

'Many thoughts went through his mind'

He said it was not action, but intent that had to be examined.

"We do not always punish action, but intention. Only one shot penetrated (alleged accomplice) Bulose, even though 15 were fired. Sukhraj testified that many thoughts went through his mind, but all he wanted was to prevent his child being harmed through rape or trafficking."

Mkhize is the only suspect on trial for murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances relating to the botched hijacking that left the 9-year-old dead in Shallcross, Chatsworth, on May 28, 2018.

His alleged accomplice, Siyabonga Bulose, was killed while fleeing from the scene.

Singh said that while Mkhize has argued he was not an active participant in the crime, this was largely untrue.

"The fact that both himself and Bulose walked into a driveway with no permission and did not have consent to take the vehicle is vital. A firearm was also presented before they jumped into the vehicle."

Previous convictions

He added that there was association on Mkhize's part.

"He knowingly jumped into the vehicle that was hijacked. The brandishing of a silver firearm in broad daylight shows clear intent."

He added that Mkhize was no stranger to the law.

"He has previous convictions of armed robberies of motor vehicles."

Defence lawyer Sizwe Masondo said the reason Mkhize and his accomplices did not stop their vehicle was because they felt they were in danger.

"They did not stop their vehicle, yes. I put to the court, what if Mr Sukhraj would have killed them? It is clear that their lives were in danger. It could be that they were trying to escape for their lives and not run away."

He added that there was no warning shot fired.

This theory was rejected by Magistrate Esther Steyn, who said that no one disputed that Sukhraj fired at the vehicle to save his daughter.

Judgment in the matter will be heard from June 24 to 26.

Read more on:    sadia sukhraj  |  durban  |  crime  |  courts
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