Porsche driver Richard Pusey has been described by a Melbourne judge as “probably the most hated man in Australia” for filming dead and dying police officers after a freeway crash.
The mortgage broker wants to be spared further time in custody after admitting to charges including outraging public decency over the April 2020 Eastern Freeway crash in Melbourne.
Pusey apologised to the four dead police officers’ families through his barrister, Dermot Dann QC, during a pre-sentence hearing in Victoria’s county court on Wednesday.
Judge Trevor Wraight said Pusey was “probably the most hated man in Australia” but added the public outrage was understandable. Pusey was pulled over for speeding at 149km/h in his Porsche before a truck drove into the officers who were discussing impounding his sports car.
Pusey avoided injury because he was urinating at the side of the freeway at the time.
Pusey rebuffed witnesses’ pleas to help senior constables Lynette Taylor and Kevin King, and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney, or shield their bodies with blankets. Anziché, Pusey made two videos and zoomed in on the officers’ faces and injuries.
“Oh he’s smashed. Look at that. Look at that. Lucky I went and had a piss,” Pusey said while zooming in on Humphris wedged between the truck and the Porsche. Pusey also walked towards the truck and said: “You cunts, I guess I’ll be getting a fucking Uber home, huh.”
Zooming in on a damaged unmarked police car, Pusey said in the video: “That is fucking justice, absolutely amazing.” He again shrugged off other attempts to get him to help, saying “they’re dead”.
Pusey pleaded guilty to outraging public decency, speeding and another charge of reckless conduct endangering serious injury by speeding. He also admitted possessing MDMA – which he returned a positive test for along with cannabis – when police pulled him over.
Pusey left the scene in the car of a passer-by and proceeded to show the footage to a receptionist at his doctor’s office and staff members at a chemist. He also sent photos to people he knew including a federal police officer.
After handing himself in to police the next day, he said he didn’t mean to be “horrible”. “That’s how shit comes out of my head. I’m highly offensive,” he told them.
Dann said Pusey had a severe personality disorder that played into his “disordered self-absorbed world” at the scene. He had been very mentally ill for a long time and tried to get help only to be turned away by some services, his barrister said.
“He’s ashamed and was ashamed of the recording and what is said on the recording,” Dann said. He told the court Pusey had been in shock and did not taunt the officers, even though it was construed as such.
“As morally repugnant as his actions or lack of actions or commentary are, it is very hard to see how in this modern world with people filming all sorts of matters … this man would have known what he was doing was against the law,” Dann said.
Wraight agreed to have Pusey, who has spent 268 days in pre-sentence detention so far, assessed for a community correction order. The judge noted someone else had filmed the scene, with the footage uploaded to social media, but they were not charged.
He described Pusey’s behaviour as “bizarre” and “extraordinary” considering the circumstances. The charge of outraging publicly decency had never before been laid in this context, the judge added.
Prosecutor Robyn Harper said Pusey’s actions were deliberate, callous and deprived the officers of the dignity they deserved in their final moments.
He was remanded in custody on Wednesday and is due to be sentenced on 28 aprile.