Sunday, May 26, 2024

COVID-19 delays see Porsche driver walk free

Killed on duty: First Constable Glen Humphris, Senior Constable Kevin King, Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and Constable Joshua Prestney.

The Porsche driver facing charges over a crash that killed four Victorian police officers and horrified a nation has been released on bail.

Richard Pusey, 42, was released from custody today after six months behind bars awaiting trial, with court delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic the reason behind his freedom.

On April 22, Pusey was pulled over on the Eastern Freeway by Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and First Constable Glen Humphris for allegedly driving at 149 kmph.

The horrific crash scene in April.

Two other officers also arrived at the scene and were standing in an emergency lane when a truck veered into their path, killing all four officers.

The truck’s driver, Mohinder Singh, has been charged over the officers’ deaths while Mr Pusey faces 11 charges, including reckless conduct endangering life, possessing a drug of dependence and outraging public decency.

The Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today approved Mr Pusey’s bail application with strict conditions, including that he not contact witnesses, drive a vehicle or discuss his case on social media.

He must also report to a police station three times a week and surrender his passport to Police.

Homicide detectives had opposed Mr Pusey’s bail application, describing him as “a manipulative, controlling man” who “picks and chooses which laws he wishes to follow”.

Richard Pusey.

Instead Magistrate Donna Bakos said the court would impose strict bail conditions to minimise any risks.

“In balancing the risks alleged with all of these matters, I’m of the view that the imposition of very strict and rigorous bail conditions can mitigate the risks so that they are not unacceptable,” she said.

Ms Bakos said Mr Pusey faced a lengthy delay before he would face trial due to a backlog of court hearing dates due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The charges are serious. That said, a period of up to three years before trial is extremely long,” Ms Bakos said.

It’s alleged Mr Pusey used his phone to make recordings of the dying police officers in the moments after the crash.

In the recording, Mr Pusey is heard saying, “Now you’ve f***ed my f***ing car.”

Earlier this week, Magistrate Bakos dismissed four further charges against Mr Pusey, including allegations he failed to render assistance to the officers, saying there was not enough evidence to proceed.

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