Williamtown fatal crash: DPP will appeal against the inadequacy of a jail term handed to Robert Gawdat Shashati

TRAGEDY: The scene of the fatal crash at Williamtown on January 21, 2015. In April, nearly a year after being found guilty, Robert Gawdat Shashati was jailed for two years and three months. The DPP has now lodged an inadequacy appeal against the sentence. Picture: Simone De Peak
TRAGEDY: The scene of the fatal crash at Williamtown on January 21, 2015. In April, nearly a year after being found guilty, Robert Gawdat Shashati was jailed for two years and three months. The DPP has now lodged an inadequacy appeal against the sentence. Picture: Simone De Peak

THE MOTHER of a seven-year-old boy killed when his ice-fuelled uncle crashed into an embankment at Williamtown is hopeful justice can still be served after the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) lodged an inadequacy appeal against the two-year jail term he received last month. 

Robert Gawdat Shashati, 38, 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 he crashed on Medowie Road and killed his nephew, Marcus Shashati, on January 21, 2015.

And after a protracted and emotional three-year legal process, which was complicated when the trial judge became ill and died, Shashati was in April jailed for a maximum of four years and six months, with a non-parole period of two years and three months, a decision that prompted Marcus’s mother, Claudia Boyagi Shashati, to collapse outside a Sydney court.

INADEQUACY APPEAL: Robert Shashati outside Sydney's Downing Centre in March. Picture: Sam Rigney

INADEQUACY APPEAL: Robert Shashati outside Sydney's Downing Centre in March. Picture: Sam Rigney

“Marcus received a death penalty, we received life, and the convicted gets bed-and-breakfast,” Ms Boyagi Shashati said after the decision.

“The penalty served today wasn't harsh enough, and neither is it long enough.”

And, it appears, the prosecution agrees, with the DPP lodging an inadequacy appeal against the length of the sentence in the Court of Criminal Appeal. 

“We are certainly grateful that the DPP have acted so quickly in relation to this matter,” Ms Boyagi Shashati told the Newcastle Herald.

“And we are still hopeful that justice will be fairly served this time around for Marcus. We will keep positive and see it through.”

Shashati was last year found guilty of aggravated dangerous driving occasioning death, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in jail, after a trial in Newcastle District Court.  

He had pleaded guilty to dangerous driving occasioning death, but, despite a blood analysis finding he had 0.32mg/L of methylamphetamine in his system, had denied being “very substantially impaired” by ice at the time of the crash. 

Throughout the trial, Shashati had maintained he had last used ice five days before the crash.

But once convicted, Shashati changed his story and told judge Peter Maiden – who took over the matter when acting judge Raymond McLoughlin became ill and died in January – he now remembered he had smoked ice on the day of the crash. 

“The last time I consumed methylamphetamine [before the crash] was after lunch,” Shashati said. 

The defence had pressed Mr Maiden for a discount on his sentence because, they said, his plea narrowed the issue of the trial and saved court time.

But his not guilty plea and version about his ice use meant Marcus’s two brothers had to give evidence and re-live that horrific day. 

The court heard Shashati had sought help for his drug problems and depression, and had developed a strong religious faith.

“I do find he expressed remorse and is unlikely to offend again in this way,” the judge said. 

Judge Maiden’s sentence means that Shashati is currently eligible for parole in July, 2020. 

The matter is listed for mention in the Court of Criminal Appeal on June 27.

This story Williamtown fatal crash:  Family keeping hope alive with DPP appeal first appeared on Newcastle Herald.