Hijab House crash driver had 'epileptic fit': Lawyer

 

A driver whose car injured 14 people when it crashed at high speed into a hijab shop in Sydney's west says he'd had a seizure behind the wheel after fasting for Ramadan.

Painter Sabry Moustafa Nassar told police he had no memory of his SUV smashing through stopped traffic and ploughing through the front door of the bustling Hijab House in Greenacre last month.

The 51-year-old was denied bail again at Downing Centre District Court on Wednesday despite his lawyers producing medical reports that showed he'd suffered a seizure in 2013.

"He does have a history of epilepsy," solicitor Mostafa Daoudie said.

"He was also fasting your honour. He's a member of the Muslim faith and was practising the month of Ramadan."

Painter Sabry Moustafa Nassar told police he has no memory of the Greenacre smash.
Painter Sabry Moustafa Nassar told police he has no memory of the Greenacre smash.

 

Mr Daoudie said Nassar was unconscious ­right before the accident, and he denies driving into the shop deliberately on his way home from work on May 21.

"He hadn't taken his blood pressure medication that day … all this goes to rule out any malicious intention," the lawyer said.

Video played in court showed Nassar still sitting in the driver's seat surrounded by the wreckage inside the shop as distressed people rushed around.

 

 

Fourteen people were injured when the car crashed at high speed into the Greenacre hijab shop. Picture: Twitter @yanitacalmdown
Fourteen people were injured when the car crashed at high speed into the Greenacre hijab shop. Picture: Twitter @yanitacalmdown

 

Mr Daoudie said the footage proved Nassar appeared confused, similar to his drowsy state in the immediate aftermath of his convulsion six-and-a-half years ago.

The court heard Nassar told police he'd felt healthy that day and raised nothing despite being questioned at length on his medical history.

Mr Daoudie said Nassar intended to plead not guilty and was entitled to the presumption of innocence, but the magistrate said: "community safety in any event would dictate him being refused on those facts."

Fourteen people were hospitalised in the crash, including a teenage girl.

Nassar, who lived alone nearby, is charged with a string of offences including driving recklessly and causing bodily harm.

The tradesman, who is facing a maximum penalty of two years behind bars, appeared via video link from jail with an Arabic interpreter.

Mr Daoudie said due to court delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, his time in custody would likely outweigh any sentence.

 

Nassar’s car being removed from a shop after it crashed through the front windows of the shop. Picture: AAP
Nassar’s car being removed from a shop after it crashed through the front windows of the shop. Picture: AAP

 

Eyewitness Abdul Jelany has also spoken out about how Nassar's Mitsubishi allegedly rammed his car before hitting the shop.

"I yelled out at a guy in the street to starting recording and was honking the horn so people got out of the way," he said. "I was just happy I was able to slow him down. I was trying to stop the car and warn people around me."

Nassar was denied bail on May 24 with magistrate Holly Kemp finding there were elements of predatory or deliberate behaviour during a similar alleged incident earlier in the year.

On January 14, police allege Nassar tailgated Wesam Ibrahim, sideswiped his car and drove dangerously for several minutes along Wangee Road in Lakemba.

Mr Ibrahim's brother, Basem Ibrahim, said he reported the number plate but nothing was done at the time.

Nassar was not charged over the January incident until after he alleged rammed the Hijab shop.

"My brother was petrified that night," he said. "Why was nothing done about it for four-and-a-half months?"



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