A Marshall Mount woman has narrowly escaped a jail sentence for her involvement in a tragic buggy accident that killed a young child.
Kandice Eljamal, 32, said she had been an "emotional wreck" ever since the accident in February last year and suffered ongoing psychological trauma from what had occurred.
Magistrate Michael Love spared Eljamal a jail sentence, instead sentencing her to a nine-month intensive corrections order in Wollongong Local Court on Friday after accepting she was remorseful, had good prospects of rehabilitation and was unlikely to offend again.
The court heard Eljamal was driving an unregistered Polaris Ranger 4x4 along Calderwood Road with three child passengers onboard when she lost control of the vehicle approximately 10 seconds after crossing a cattle grid on the roadway.
The vehicle swerved right and Eljamal steered sharply to the left in an attempted to bring the vehicle back onto the roadway, but the oversteering caused the buggy to roll onto its right side, before then completely rolling over.
The vehicle came to a rest on a wooden fence adjacent to Calderwood Road.
Neither Eljamal or the three children were wearing seatbelts installed in the buggy and all were thrown from the vehicle.
The buggy rolled onto one of the children, leaving them with critical head and chest injuries. The child was flown to Sydney Children's Hospital but died two days later.
The other children were treated for minor injuries, as was Eljamal.
The vehicle was towed from the scene and examined by police but cleared of any mechanical defects.
Eljamal later gave the following statement to police through her lawyer: "our client was driving the vehicle when she travelled over a cow gate. Suddenly the rear end of the buggy slid out and our client tried to regain control".
Eljamal was subsequently charged with dangerous driving occasioning death but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of negligent driving occasioning death after reaching a deal with prosecutors.
Prosecutors revealed during Eljamal's sentencing hearing in June that they were not pursuing jail time for the mother-of-three, describing the incident as a "tragic matter".
"She will no doubt have to deal with this for the rest of her life," Crown prosecutor Michael Fox said at the time.
Meanwhile, Eljamal's barrister Craig Smith SC said his client was in "absolute genuine, deep grief and sorrow for what she's caused."
Magistrate Love accepted Eljamal's remorse ran deep and said she appeared to have "great insight into the impact of her offending".
He cited a sentencing report in which Eljamal described her regret at what had occurred.
"I'm so sorry, I would never intentionally put any child in danger. I should have checked they had seatbelts on," she told the report writer.
"I'm an emotional wreck."
Magistrate Love stipulated that Eljamal be supervised by Community Corrections while subject to the order.
He also disqualified her licence for two years.