Richard Pusey, the Porsche driver who allegedly filmed himself taunting police officer Lynette Taylor as she lay dying on the Eastern Freeway, has been denied bail by the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court.
Mr Pusey, 41, appeared in court via videolink on Thursday and remained expressionless as Magistrate Johanna Metcalf scuppered his bid for freedom.
For the first time, he appeared without wearing a surgical mask, dressed in the same grey jumper that he wore when he was taken into custody.
In refusing bail, Magistrate Metcalf acknowledged the distressing details of the case, including Mr Pusey’s filming of Leading Senior Constable Taylor as she died.
“While his actions in seeking to record the scene were highly intrusive and morally repugnant, the filming is not illegal,” she said.
“My view is that Mr Pusey poses an unacceptable risk of committing offences on bail and endangering the safety and welfare of members of the public.
“Bail is therefore refused.”
On Monday, Mr Pusey, who has been on remand for three weeks, applied to the court to be released on bail, pointing to significant delays in the justice system caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
His lawyer also claimed that he had been traumatised by the horrific smash on the Eastern Freeway, on April 22, which left four police officers dead.
Mr Pusey is facing multiple charges, including drug possession, destroying evidence, failing to render assistance and driving at a dangerous speed.
Judge unconvinced by police concerns accused could flee
On Thursday, the court heard Mr Pusey had been prescribed low-dose antipsychotic medication.
“He continues to struggle with anger management and narcissistic rage towards multiple parties,” Magistrate Metcalf said, as she detailed her reasons.
His bail application was opposed by police, who told the court Mr Pusey was a man of means who had a “flagrant disregard” for the law.
The court also heard that authorities feared Mr Pusey, who had an ability to fixate on people, would interfere with witnesses and could flee Victoria.
But on Thursday Magistrate Metcalf revealed those concerns were not persuasive.
“In my view, there is no unacceptable risk of Mr Pusey failing to enter into custody given his ties to the jurisdiction,” she said.
“I am not persuaded that there is an unacceptable risk that Mr Pusey will interfere with witnesses.”
But she was concerned about Mr Pusey’s poor driving record and acknowledged the delays his case would face due to the pandemic, with the prospect of a trial not being held until 2022.
“There is a prospect Mr Pusey may be acquitted of the more serious charges,” Ms Metcalf said.
“In my view, Mr Pusey would spend a longer time on remand than any jail sentence he might receive.”
Accused ‘not proud’ of abuse captured on video
On the day of the crash, Mr Pusey was pulled over by Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and First Constable Glen Humphris for allegedly driving his Porsche at 149kph on the Eastern Freeway.
He allegedly tested positive to ecstasy and cannabis.
A short time later, Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Josh Prestney arrived, and all four officers stood next to their cars in the emergency lane while Mr Pusey urinated a short distance away.
It was then that a refrigerated truck, allegedly driven by Mohinder Singh, veered into the officers, who were killed in the crash.
Police alleged that instead of rendering assistance, Mr Pusey pulled out his phone and approached Leading Senior Constable Taylor as she was pinned to the truck.
For more than three minutes, Mr Pusey allegedly filmed the scene and the dying police officer, zooming in as he made “derogatory” remarks.
“There you go, amazing, absolutely amazing. All I wanted to do was go home and have some sushi and now you f—ed my f—ing car,” Mr Pusey is alleged to have said.
On Thursday, the court heard that Mr Pusey has expressed some regret for his actions.
“At one point during the statement, he told police he was not proud of what he said in the videos from the scene,” the magistrate said.
Mr Pusey will return to court in July.