The man accused of running down pedestrians along Bourke Street in Melbourne’s CBD, killing six people, has pleaded not guilty to murder and attempted murder charges.
James Gargasoulas, 27, is facing six counts of murder and 28 counts of attempted murder after driving a car through the busy Bourke Street mall and along the footpath for several blocks on January 20.
Mr Gargasoulas, who appeared via video link on Friday, also waived his right to a pre-trial committal hearing, so his case will go straight to the Victorian Supreme Court, reports AAP.
Defence lawyer, James Yianoulatos, said his client’s fitness to plead and mental impairment were “live issues”.
Mr Gargasoulas said no more than 10 words when magistrate Simon Zebrowski asked him to confirm his identity and whether he understood the charges, reports AAP.
He is accused of killing four adults, a child and a baby.
Japanese student Yosuke Kanno, 25, was killed in Bourke Street mall, while Bhavita Patel, 33, died in hospital 10 days after being hit near the intersection of Elizabeth Street.
Sydney woman Jess Mudie, 22, Melbourne man Matthew Si, 33, Thalia Hakin, 10, and three-month-old Zacahry Bryant were also killed.
Mr Gargasoulas was arrested near William St when the car slowed almost to a stop.
Police members fired two shots at him and he was taken into custody.
Mr Gargasoulas has been in custody since his arrest.
The family of some of the victims were in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court for today’s hearing.
Mr Gargasoulas will return to the Supreme Court on Monday where a timetable will be set down for the case.
— with AAP