By Wayne Flower, Melbourne Correspondent
03:16 07 Oct 2020, updated 07:45 07 Oct 2020
- Richard Pusey was allegedly driving at 149km/h with drugs in his system
- Four officers were hit by a truck while on the roadside with the mortgage broker
- Pusey was hit with an unprecedented charge of ‘outraging public decency’
- Pusey has employed top Melbourne barrister Dermot Dann QC
- Mr Dann claims many of the charges laid by police ought be thrown out of court
Victoria Police has been accused of pursuing frivolous charges against the Porsche driver accused of filming a dying police officer after a horrific crash that killed four officers.
Millionaire businessman Richard Pusey, 41, appeared via videolink on Wednesday in a Melbourne court where he now faces 16 charges – one of which hasn’t been used since the 1600s in England.
Police on Wednesday slapped yet another charge on Pusey, this time for using an anti-speed detection device.
Pusey had avoided the crash that killed the officers after he jumped the fence to urinate.
‘Amazing. Absolutely amazing. All I wanted to do was go home and eat my sushi and now you have f**ked my f**king car,’ Pusey was allegedly heard to say as Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor lay dying.
Top Melbourne barrister Dermot Dann, QC, who appears for Pusey, claimed no jury could find his client guilty on most of the charges laid by police.
‘On any objective basis at a matter of law … this man has been seriously overcharged,’ he said.
‘This court in this committal process can’t just be a rubber stamped sort of process where a person is seriously overcharged with charges that can’t be made out legally or factually.’
In calling for a swag of charges against Pusey to be dumped, Mr Dann lashed out police and prosecutors for persisting with them, claiming they had no objective or lawful legal basis.
Pusey has been behind bars since April when a truck crashed into four officers after they pulled him over for allegedly driving at 149km/h in his Porsche 911 with cannabis and ice in his system.
The three male officers were already dead when Pusey allegedly began filming.
In June, police hit Pusey with an offence that has never been used in Australian history.
On Wednesday, the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court heard police would continue to pursue the charge of ‘outraging public decency’ and every other charge against Pusey.
Although he never caused the crash, Pusey is charged with offences including reckless conduct endangering life, driving at a dangerous speed, failing to assist and perverting the course of justice.
The court heard police claimed a combination of speed, his decision to leave the scene of the crash, the removal of personal items from his wrecked car and deletion of the offending video justified those charges.
Mr Dann argued Pusey had only deleted the video after receiving legal advice to do so.
By then, he had already provided it to a federal police officer.
Mr Dann said Pusey had only deleted the footage because he was ashamed and had been advised to do so.
The court heard several other people who took footage at the scene – including one who deleted the footage – had not been charged with any offences.
Magistrate Donna Bakos was told some of the charges related to evidence Pusey gave to police after they had told him it would be inadmissible in court.
‘We can’t use this against you in court,’ Pusey was told.
At the time, Pusey was under the impression he was only to be interviewed as a witness to the crash rather than an offender.
Mr Dann argued the removal of a bag and mobile phone from Pusey’s wrecked vehicle had nothing to do with an attempt to pervert the course of justice.
The charge holds a maximum prison sentence of 25 years if proven.
As it’s put by police, a jury would need to find beyond reasonable doubt that Pusey took the items in an effort to hamper the case against the truck driver, rather than himself.
‘It’s so outside the box it should be put to one side,’ Mr Dann argued.
The driver of the truck, Mohinder Singh, was charged with four counts of culpable driving and also remains behind bars.
Mr Dann previously said Pusey would likely plead guilty to charges if police withdrew some of them.
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The court previously heard Pusey had been co-operative with police after they pulled him over on April 22 on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway amid allegations he was speeding.
Mr Dann said Pusey’s behaviour toward Leading Senior Constable Taylor had been conducted in a ‘good natured way’ before the truck hit.
‘There was laughing between them. This can be seen. There is evidence of Mr Pusey describing Leading Senior Constable Taylor as being lovely and nice. And this is in the immediate aftermath of this filming,’ Mr Dann said.
‘It’s no part of the defence case that there can be some kind of characterisation of this whole event as Mr Pusey being angry with the individual officers that he was dealing with at the scene. We say that’s not part of our case and it’s not the evidence.’
Mr Dann said his client had not argued with police and said the prosecution agreed too that Pusey had not taunted the dying officer.
‘He cannot be described as taunting any of the police officers,’ he said.
Mr Pusey himself sat quietly from a prison media room throughout the video hearing.
The court has heard the legal process could drag on for years if police pushed ahead with all of the charges currently hanging over Pusey’s head.
He remans in protective custody at Melbourne Assessment Prison and did not apply for bail.
The case is scheduled to return to court next week.