Diwali spoiler says sorry

08 October 2013 - 02:17 By NIVASHNI NAIR
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Fireworks. File photo.
Fireworks. File photo.
Image: Nikita Ramkissoon

A Durban man yesterday apologised to his neighbour's family for hurling eggs and insults at them.

Jackie Schuit was hauled before the Pinetown Magistrate's Court by Surendhra Chetty and his son, Rinesh, both medical doctors.

Schuit threw eggs at the Chettys while they were in the company of others, including a child, at their Westville home as they celebrated Diwali in 2010.

Saleem Khan, representing the Chettys, told the court yesterday that the matter had been settled. He said a written apology was favoured over the R200000 damages claim.

The Chettys said Schuit spoke to them using "vile" language.

"The plaintiffs allege that the defendant shouted words to the effect: 'You f***ing people must get out of my neighbourhood and do your Diwali elsewhere'," Khan said.

In court papers Rinesh Chetty said that on November 5 2010, at 7.10pm, his family were lighting fireworks "that just showed off attractive lights, as we do not like the loud bangs".

Then he heard someone walking in the bushes next to the property and something hit the patio roof, he said.

"Our housekeeper said she could see broken egg shells around our paving and that one of the eggs hit her six-month-old baby as she was carrying him. I ran to the fence and shouted at the person who was throwing eggs," he said.

He said that because Schuit continued to hurl abusive language at his family the police were called in.

"They [the police] said they will investigate the neighbour and warn him not to do this again," he said.

He said the police assured his family that they were within their rights as they were lighting fireworks during the prescribed time.

"At 8pm we were done with the fireworks and highly embarrassed that our guests, including children, had to witness this disgusting behaviour."

Yesterday he said his family has not celebrated the Hindu festival since the "traumatic" experience.

In Schuit's counter claim, he said the Chettys were "shooting off big bomb crackers" and that in "absolute desperation and frustration" he threw the eggs over the fence into their yard.

But in the settlement agreement , he admitted guilt and apologised unconditionally. He undertook not to repeat "such misconduct" again. Afterwards Schuit said he decided to be the "bigger person".

"Our children grew up together so I apologised. As far as I am concerned, I am the bigger person," he said.

Surendhra Chetty said he was glad that the matter was over.

"It is unfortunate that it took three years of legal action to make my neighbour realise that his actions were wrong.

"The apology and admission of guilt are worth more than a monetary claim," he said.

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