Porsche driver denied bail over Eastern Freeway tragedy

 

The mortgage broker who allegedly filmed and taunted dying police on a busy Melbourne freeway has been denied bail.

Richard Pusey, 41, learned the news during a brief bail hearing at Melbourne Magistrates' Court where he appeared via video link from Melbourne Assessment Prison.

He sat slumped in his chair and did not react when Magistrate Johanna Metcalf handed down her decision.

Magistrate Metcalf described Mr Pusey's actions in filming the scene of a collision that killed four officers on Melbourne's Eastern Freeway on April 22 - and refusing to help - as "highly intrusive and morally repugnant".

She conceded there were "gaps in the evidence" and "arguable issues in relation to many of the charges" but in the end deemed Mr Pusey a danger to the public.

"Considering the whole of the evidence … my view is that Mr Pusey poses an unacceptable risk of endangering the safety of members of the public," she said.

"I hold concerns about Mr Pusey's risk of committing offences on bail."

In refusing bail, the magistrate acknowledged that Mr Pusey "could well spend longer on remand that any jail sentence he may receive".

The casket is taken into the chapel at Xavier College. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images
The casket is taken into the chapel at Xavier College. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

 

The court this morning also heard new information about the accused, including that analysis of his mobile phone suggests he was awake for 22 of the 24 hours leading up to the collision.

The court also heard details about his pre-existing mental health issues. A psychiatrist's report handed to the court shows Mr Pusey "continues to suffer with narcissistic rage".

He is prescribed Ritalin to assist with concentration and a low-dose anti-psychotic to assist with irritability and anger.

In opposing bail on Monday, Detective Senior Constable Aaron Price told the court Mr Pusey is a flight risk who "has a flagrant disregard for orders made by the court".

He detailed how Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor lay in the emergency lane of the Eastern Freeway groaning while Mr Pusey filmed a three-minute video of her and three other officers who also died at the scene, at times "zooming in" on the officers.

"There is certainly evidence to say one of the officers was alive (during filming)," Det Sen Const Price told the court.

"He filmed in a calm manner. There's no evidence of shock in his comments."

But Mr Pusey's lawyer, Vincent Peters, argued his client was in shock and is still suffering the effects of what he saw.

Pusey is taken from his home by police. Picture: Tim Carrafa
Pusey is taken from his home by police. Picture: Tim Carrafa

 

"A collision has occurred in the most horrendous of circumstances. It's difficult to conceive of anything good about it," Mr Peters told the court.

"He witnessed it. It happened in front of him.

"He is very much in need of ongoing psychological treatment."

On the night of the crash, Mr Pusey sent an email to a Victorian police officer explaining what he had seen.

"I feel very unwell as what I saw was horrific," he wrote. "I went to the doctors and he asked me to see him in the morning. Three males died instantly. (Sen Const Taylor) was in a state of shock. She was a nice lady. There was a doctor at the scene within seconds. I was behind the steel barrier just moments before the truck came through. I have to sleep now as my head is fuzzy."

The truck that crashed into the officers and crushed Mr Pusey's Porsche 911 was driven by Mohinder Singh, who has been charged with culpable driving offences.

It killed Sen Const Taylor and her colleagues, Senior Constable Kevin King, Constable Glen Humphris and Constable Josh Prestney.

Mr Pusey allegedly grabbed items from his car after it had been hit. The items included two mobile phones and a bag that police allege contained drugs.

As people stopped on the side of the Eastern Freeway to offer help, Mr Pusey asked for a lift. He allegedly told a witness, "That's my f***ing car, mate."

Mr Pusey is facing charges including driving at a dangerous speed, reckless conduct endangering life, failing to render assistance, destruction of evidence, drug possession, failing to remain after a drug test and committing an indictable offence while on bail.

On Monday he received three new charges, including two counts of perverting the course of justice and one count relating to drug offences.

Magistrate Johanna Metcalf told lawyers she needed until Thursday morning to make a decision.

Mr Pusey did not have family members in court to support him.

rohan.smith1@news.com.au | @ro_smith


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