A Porsche driver who became known as ‘Australia’s most hated man’ for filming four police officers as they lay dying after a horror crash will learn his fate today.
Millionaire businessman Richard Paul Pusey, 42, will be sentenced on Wednesday, a year on from the biggest loss of officer lives in a single incident in Victoria Police’s history.
Last Thursday marked one year since father-of-two Mohinder Singh, 48, ran his truck into Leading Senior Constable Lynnette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney on Melbourne‘s Eastern Freeway.
The four officers were impounding a Porsche driven by Pusey when they were struck and killed by Singh’s semi-trailer.
Pusey avoided the crash after he jumped the fence to urinate in some bushes, and then emerged to film the scene including close-up shots of the dying officers and taunt them, claiming ‘this is justice’.
He will be sentenced in County Court of Victoria on Wednesday morning, where he is expected to immediately make a bid for bail should he escape further jail time.
He is in custody at the Metropolitan Remand Centre and will appear at his sentencing via video link.
Millionaire businessman Richard Paul Pusey, 42, is being sentenced via videolink on Wednesday in a Melbourne court over the April 22, 2020, crash
Senior Constable Kevin King (pictured, far left), Constable Glen Humphris (second from left), Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor (second from right) and and Constable Josh Prestney (far right) all died in the crash
Pusey appeared in court via video link on Tuesday, where his barrister claimed his client was also a victim in the tragedy.
Now resembling one of the members of the mop-topped Beatles, Pusey returned to court to hear Corrections Victoria reject any notion of accepting him for a community based order.
Judge Trevor Wraight told the court he was astounded and disturbed by Corrections Victoria’s report that ruled Pusey was too high profile for a community sentence.
‘It’s really an attitude that because of the media attention that he’s received that somehow he’s going to be a problem for them,’ the judge said.
Pusey was pulled over for speeding at 149km/h in his black 2016 Porsche 911 on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway, before a truck crashed into the scene killing all four cops
The mortgage broker (pictured in a court sketch) avoided being struck because he’d been urinating off to the side of the road
He also said it was still open for Pusey to be placed on such an order despite the report appearing ‘motivated by not wanting to deal with this man because he’s unpopular’.
Pusey’s barrister, Dermot Dann QC, was also scathing of the assessment, claiming his client had been a victim of the deadly crash too.
The unemployed property developer was pulled over for speeding at 149km/h in his black 2016 Porsche 911 on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway at the time.
As officers discussed impounding his sports car by the side of the road, a truck driven by Singh crashed into them.
Mr Dann said it ought not be forgotten that Pusey was a victim of Singh’s offending.
‘Here is a case where this man, as unlikely as this term may be for certain people or as hard to grapple with this term may be for … large portions of the community I would imagine. Ordinarily someone that comes within seconds of death, has their car destroyed, would be considered a victim,’ he said.
Pusey’s barrister Dermot Dann QC (right) has argued his client ought be regarded as a victim of crime
Parents of Josh Prestney, Andrew (2nd right) and Belinda Prestney (2nd left) arrive to the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne last month
Mr Dann attributed Pusey’s behaviour in the moments after the crash to his position as a victim of crime.
‘That’s the starting point in respect to his conduct. That’s the position he was in. That’s his state. Those are his circumstances when this offence is actually committed,’ Mr Dann said.
‘It’s a very unusual – indeed exceptional – position for an accused person to be in in terms of his pleading guilty to a charge that takes place in the immediate aftermath of him – as a victim – which really we’d normally regard him as, of a very serious piece of criminal behaviour.’
The court had heard previously a graphic recounting of the content of the two Pusey videos, adding up to three minutes and eight seconds.
Pusey numerous times said variants of ‘absolutely amazing’ and ‘look at that’ when ‘slowly and purposefully’ surveying the scene and zooming in on the dead officers’ injuries.
At one point he said ‘this is f**king justice’ in the general direction of the road as other motorists went past.
Richard Pusey was arrested on April 23, one day after the fatal crash which killed four police officers
Partner of Senior Constable Kevin King, Sharron Mackenzie (2nd left) arrives to the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne last month
Partner of Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Stuart Schultz (centre) arrives to the County Court of Victoria in Melbourne last month
On Tuesday, the court heard Pusey was so loathed by the general community that Corrections Victoria had refused to accept him should he be sentenced tomorrow to a community corrections order.
The move to reject Pusey was condemned by both Judge Trevor Wraight and Pusey’s barrister.
Judge Wraight accused Corrections staff of having a ‘special interest’ in Pusey, which he claimed to be ‘extraordinary’ considering their role in rehabilitating serious criminals.
‘They deal with very violent offenders, paedophiles – a whole range of people with difficult issues. People that are still dealing with a raging ice addiction and are dangerous. Belligerent people, people with bad attitudes, people that have breached numerous orders in the past and they are assessed as suitable,’ he said.
Judge Wraight said he was not surprised by any of the findings regarding Pusey’s character identified by Corrections Victoria.
‘I would hope that they’re not treating him any differently than any other defendant, but it reads like they are,’ he said.
Police officers lined the streets during the repatriation ceremony of Constable Glen Humphris at Hovell Tree Park in Albury on May 2
As police were discussing impounding his sports car by the side of the road, a truck driven by drugged-up Mohinder Singh crashed into them
Mr Dann suggested Corrections Victoria had simply rejected Pusey because of the media attention he had received since the tragedy.
Pusey has been dubbed ‘Australia’s most hated man’ over the past year.
‘It comes close to saying, when you strip it all away … that this man is too high profile, too unpopular and too challenging for the office (of Corrections),’ Mr Dann said.
Given Corrections Victoria’s rejection of Pusey, Mr Dann instead asked Judge Wraight to cut his client loose altogether with time served and a good behaviour bond.
Pusey has already spent 10 months behind bars and would likely remain in custody even if released by Judge Wraight due to a pending assault charge.
That charge relates to an allegation Pusey forced his wife to watch as he placed a noose around his own neck in the lead-up to Christmas last year.
Pusey fashioned a noose and put around his neck during a December 27 incident on the rooftop of his home, and told police who attended the scene to shoot him
Pusey would need to be granted bail to even commence a community corrections order should Judge Wraight order one anyway.
Mr Dann said Pusey had already spent ‘more than enough’ time behind bars awaiting the outcome of his matters.
Pusey pleaded guilty last month to numerous charges including ‘outraging decency’, which hasn’t been used since the 1600s in England.
He also pleaded guilty to conduct endangering serious injury, speeding, possessing a drug of dependence, and some other minor charges.
Mr Dann said the last time ‘outraging decency’ had been used was back in 1640 and had nothing to do with what his client now faced.
‘It’s not the filming that is said to justify the charge, but it’s the comments … the comments are essentially comments to himself,’ Mr Dann said.
Pusey’s lawyer, Dermot Dann QC (pictured), attempted to paint ‘a worrying picture of a man afflicted with serious mental illnesses’
Pusey was kicked out of school just a few week into Year 10 and worked as tram driver and nurse without much success before becoming a successful finance broker (pictured)
‘So what we have here is – in terms of this country – an unrecognisable charge being prosecuted in an unrecognisable way in terms of someone making comments to themselves.’
Judge Wraight agreed that for him to accept Pusey’s guilty plea on the charge, Pusey’s comments would have had to have been heard by two or more people at the crash site.
‘Even though I accept – and the Crown does as well – that his comments on the video were a self-commentary,’ Judge Wraight said.
The families of all of the four victims watched on within the Supreme Court of Victoria when Singh’s sentence was handed down earlier this month.
Singh was sentenced to a total of 22 years by Justice Paul Coghlan: 12 years for one death and three additional years for each of the other three deaths with the terms partially concurrent.
There was an additional year on the sentence for his drug offences.
The non-parole period was 18.5 years, and taking into account the year Singh has already been behind bars and could be out in late 2039.