ROBERT Gawdat Shashati – the man whose erratic and dangerous driving claimed the life of his seven-year-old nephew at Williamtown in 2015 – now says he remembers smoking ice on the day of the crash and not five days before, Downing Centre District Court has heard.
Shashati, now 39, was weaving in and out of traffic, crossing to the wrong side of the road, swearing, speeding, blasting loud music and undertaking cars on the grass verge before his car became airborne and slammed into an embankment on Medowie Road on January 21, 2015, killing his nephew, Marcus Shashati.
And despite a blood analysis, conducted in the hours after the crash, finding he had 0.05mg/L of amphetamine and 0.32mg/L of methylamphetamine in his system, Shashati pleaded not guilty to being “very substantially impaired” at the time of the crash and always maintained he last ingested the drug five days prior.
Shashati’s ice use was the sole issue at a trial in Newcastle District Court, during which Marcus’ two brothers had to give evidence and re-live that horrific day.
But on Friday, while giving evidence during a sentence hearing, Shashati said he remembered four weeks ago that he had smoked some ice on the day of the crash, and not five days earlier.
“The last time I consumed methylamphetamine [before the crash] was after lunch,” Shashati said.
Shashati also read a letter, where he apologised to his family and said he wished he could “trade places” with Marcus. Marcus’ mother, Claudia Boyagi Shashati penned an emotional victim impact statement, where she said her family has had to endure years of torment due to the drawn-out court process.
More than three years since the crash, and 10 months since he was found guilty by a jury, Shashati remains on bail after the trial Judge Raymond McLoughlin became ill and died in January.
That development has caused Judge Peter Maiden to pick up the matter at the sentencing stage. But with transcripts outstanding and exhibits unavailable, Judge Maiden was unable to finalise the matter on Friday.
The matter was adjourned until April 5.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.