News State New South Wales Woman denies manslaughter in classroom crash

Woman denies manslaughter in classroom crash

classroom crash manslaughter
A woman grieves outside Banksia Road Public School after the death of the two young boys. Photo: AAP
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A Sydney woman has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter after she allegedly crashed her car into a primary school classroom in the city’s south-west, killing two children.

Maha Al-Shennag was dropping off her child at Banksia Road Public School in November 2017 when the Toyota Kluger she was driving careered out of control and into the classroom.

Two eight-year-old boys died as a result of the crash, while several more children were injured.

Ms Al-Shennag, a widowed mother-of-four, was charged with nine offences including manslaughter and negligent driving after the crash.

classroom crash manslaughter
Maha Al-Shennag has admitted other charges relating to the crash. Photo: ABC

She appeared in the Burwood Local Court on Wednesday and pleaded guilty to two counts of causing bodily harm by misconduct and one count of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm.

Those charges relate to three children who were injured in the crash.

However, she pleaded not guilty to the more serious charges relating to the deaths.

The manslaughter charges were laid in June last year, seven months after the crash.

Ms Al-Shennag showed little emotion in court as Magistrate Alison Viney ordered her to stand trial in the Parramatta District Court.

The trial will take place either late this year or early next year.

Family forgives

At the funeral for one of the boys killed in the crash, undertaker Ahmad Hraichie posted a live video to Facebook as he was driving a hearse with his father and the coffin.

The pair broadcast a message of support for Ms Al-Shennag, saying threats to the woman were not from the family and she had been forgiven.

Ms Al-Shennag’s lawyer Nick Hanna later said his client heard the message and was grateful for the compassion.

She was “very distraught” about the incident, he said.

Police said they did not believe the incident was intentional.

The crash was described as a “scene of carnage” unfolding into “pandemonium” as NSW Ambulance sent 16 vehicles to help.

Ms Al-Shennag remains on bail, which includes conditions that ban her from being in the driver’s seat of a motor vehicle.