Porsche driver Richard Pusey has pleaded guilty to outraging public decency after filming the scene of a crash where four police officers died.
Lawyers have been at loggerheads for months over the obscure charge, with a County Court judge even questioning whether it applied to Mr Pusey’s actions.
The 42-year-old ended the stalemate on Wednesday, formally pleading guilty to three charges, including reckless conduct endangering serious injury by driving at high speeds in the lead up to the quadruple fatality on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway.
He also admitted later to possessing MDMA, and is expected to plead guilty later to a charge of speeding, held up by an administrative delay.
Senior Constables Lynette Taylor and Kevin King and Constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney died in the crash, after a truck ploughed into their stationary cars on the side of the road.
The charge of outraging public decency related to Mr Pusey’s actions after the crash, which included filming the scene while making comments including “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”.
His barrister Dermot Dann said the largest portion of any sentence handed to Mr Pusey would be for the driving offences rather than outraging public decency.
Judge Trevor Wraight said there was significant benefit in Mr Pusey’s plea. Without it the case would likely have dragged into 2022.
“I don’t know why he’s been charged when there’s been many examples of crime scenes where offences have occurred and comments are made, or criminals scoff in public about the death of a police officer,” Judge Wraight said in an earlier hearing, the proceedings of which were suppressed until Wednesday.
“There’d be plenty of examples when you’d find it and it’s never charged. Here it’s been charged and I don’t know why.”
He noted a witness to the crash had also filmed the scene, made remarks about one officer and then posted the video to social media. He was not charged.
Mr Pusey had earlier offered to plead guilty to a lesser charge, but prosecutors argued the maximum two-month prison sentence was insufficient for reasons including his description of the scene as “amazing”.
But Mr Pusey’s barrister Mr Dann said the remarks weren’t directed at the officers.
Judge Wraight said Mr Pusey was likely in shock, recognising that if he had not been relieving himself at the time he likely would have been killed too.
“It may not be appropriate use of the language, but it is amazing – it’s horrific, it’s shocking, it’s one of those completely random things that happened,” he said.
“I suppose none of us might use the word, but amazing is still a word that could be used. You could say the planes flying into the twin towers was an amazing thing.”
He said Pusey acknowledged later when interviewed by police that what he said was “completely stupid and offensive”.
He’s expected to be sentenced in April.