The Porsche driver who filmed dying police officers in the aftermath of last year’s horror Eastern Freeway crash was admonished by a magistrate and had his livestream muted after he continued to interrupt court proceedings during a hearing on Thursday.
Richard Pusey referred to himself as “Australia’s most hated man” at the beginning of the hearing in the Neighbourhood Justice Centre, in reference to comments made by a County Court judge during a plea hearing on Wednesday.
Pusey can then be seen getting out of his car and speaking to the driver with his arms raised, before leaning into the window and taking the man’s keys out of the ignition. He then gets back in his car and drives away.
As the footage was played on Thursday, Pusey began speaking, prompting the magistrate to describe it as “inappropriate” for the accused to address the court.
“Unless [Pusey’s lawyer Vincent Peters] is asking for you to speak, then I ask you to remain silent,” the magistrate said.
However, later during the hearing, Pusey spoke again to complain that he hadn’t been sent material he had requested from the court. The magistrate then asked the court to place Pusey on mute.
Senior Constable Kevin King (left), Constable Josh Prestney, Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and Constable Glen Humphris were killed on the Eastern Freeway.
“This is unacceptable to have conversations coming in from all angles,” he said.
The prosecution argued that the charge of unlawful assault was due to the “threatening and menacing nature” of Pusey’s actions, however, Mr Peters argued the footage was not conclusive of assault.
“Pusey says that when he was speaking to the gentleman in that car, that man became very aggressive and very angry and Pusey said it was appropriate to remove his keys. He needed a couple of goes at doing that, because he felt the man wasn’t in a condition to drive,” Mr Peters said.
“So it might be said that the removal of the keys was unlawful and may constitute a theft, but he took those keys to South Melbourne police station and left them there and advised them of the circumstances.”
The court also heard Pusey was charged in a separate incident with destruction of property after he allegedly dropped a “pack of stubbies” on the floor of a bottle shop in Smith Street, Fitzroy.
Mr Peters said his client denied the charge and that the store had been refusing to serve Pusey, who then asked a security guard what he should do.
“He was asked to drop it and leave, so he dropped it and left,” Mr Peters said.
Pusey, 42, is in jail awaiting sentence over the Eastern Freeway incident, along with other charges. He is to be sentenced on April 28.
Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney were all hit and killed when a truck driven by Mohinder Singh, addled by drug use and fatigue, veered into the emergency lane at 5.36pm on April 22, 2020.
Mr Peters said his client was anxious to have the matters resolved prior to sentencing date over the Eastern Freeway charges.
“I don’t think it’s any secret he faced some fairly serious charges which have been aired in the press ad infinitum for almost 12 months,” said Mr Peters.
“With respect, the issues that we as defence have been concentrating on are those matters raised, very, very serious matters, related to the unfortunate death of four police officers.
“Yesterday in effect, those matters finally came to a conclusion and it’s now time to turn attention to these matters and how to resolve them.”
The unlawful assault, theft and destruction of property charges will return to court on May 6.
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