Millionaire businessman Richard Pusey will be forced to defend an ancient charge at trial after losing a court bid to have it thrown out.
Pusey, 41, appeared via videolink on Wednesday in a Melbourne court where he was told he would face a jury over a charge that hasn’t been used since the 1600s in England.
Pusey is the Porsche driver accused of filming a dying police officer after a horrific crash that killed four police officers.
Richard Pusey was arrested on April 23, one day after the fatal crash which killed four police officers
Pictured: Emergency services trying to remove a Porsche from the scene the day after a fatal crash on Eastern Highway in Kew
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.
Before today, Pusey had faced 16 charges – four of which were discharged by Magistrate Donna Bakos after she ruled a jury could not find him guilty of them.
The charges included failing to render assistance after a crash, destroying evidence and two charges of perverting the course of justice.
But Pusey failed in his efforts to have charges of recklessly conduct threatening serious injury, reckless conduct endangering life and drug possession withdrawn.
He also failed in overturning the ancient charge of outraging public decency.
On Wednesday, Pusey pleaded not guilty to each of those charges, which will now head to jury trials at the County Court of Victoria.
Eight other charges will be transferred to that court when it eventually goes to trial.
Pusey, who is appearing at the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court, is in the process of applying for bail, which has been opposed by police.
Homicide Squad detective Senior-Constable Aaron Price claimed video on Pusey’s phone showed him driving through a 40kmh roadworks section at 160kmh, telling the court Pusey had plans to reach speeds of up to 350kmh.
Police have opposed bailing Pusey on the grounds he is a risk to the community and of interfering with witnesses.
‘He has absolute disregard for the emotion of other people, He is a manipulative and controlling man,’ Senior-Constable Price added. ‘He enjoys driving fast in flashy cars.’
The detective further suggested police had little faith in Pusey’s wife of 12 years dobbing him in should he breach his bail conditions in the wild.
The court heard allegations she had attempted to hamper the investigation against her husband when he was initially charged.
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.
So gruesome is the video that Ms Bakos refused to even allow a description of it.
Pusey faces a wait of anywhere up to three years to go to trial and has several other minor matters still hanging over his head, including charges of theft, criminal damage and using a carriage service to menace.
Richard Pusey’s wife gives reporters the finger after her husband’s arrest in April
The mortgage broker (pictured in a court sketch) avoided being struck because he’d been urinating off to the side of the road
Top Melbourne barrister Dermot Dann, QC, (left) claims police have charged Richard Pusey with an offence that may not even exist in Australia.
Top Melbourne barrister Dermot Dann, QC, who appears for Pusey, claimed his client had been unsuccessful in finding any mental health facility that would accept him while awaiting trial.
For Pusey to be released, he is required to prove ‘compelling reasons’ to the court to release him.
Mr Dann claimed Pusey could live at his home with his wife and enjoyed good family support from both her and his parents.
‘It’s not the case his wife faces charges, nor are any of his other family,’ Mr Dann said.
The court was told Pusey’s mum had publicly berated him after the incident, but she had since rebuilt bridges with him while he languished in jail.
‘It’s not open ended support. It’s support that comes with very strict parameters,’ he said.
The court heard Pusey had spent hard time in jail due mostly to ‘onerous conditions’ stemming from the COVID-19 crisis.
Mr Dann argued Pusey had been subjected to two periods of quarantine, regular 23-hour-a-day lockdowns and denied visits.
‘This pandemic has brought havoc to the criminal justice system,’ he said.
He told the court Pusey faced spending more time behind bars waiting to go to trial then any sentence a judge would likely hand down should he be found guilty.
The crumpled police car struck by the killer truck is taken away in April
A repatriation ceremony for Constable Glen Humphris took place at Hovell Tree Park in Albury in May
The barrister had previously 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 at a previous hearing.
‘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 last week 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.
In June, police hit Pusey with an offence that has never been used in Australian history.
Mr Dann had argued he could not find the charge ‘framed’ this way in hundreds of years of Australian legal history.
‘It can’t be made out legally. It can’t be made out factually,’ he said. ‘Even more fundamentally, any court dealing with that charge would have to be satisfied that if that charge ever existed in this country, it still exists in this country.’
Mr Dann said his legal team had not been able to find any reported cases of the charge in ‘hundreds of years of legal history’ in Australia.
The court had 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.
Pusey had a minor win in court on Wednesday with several charges discharged by a Melbourne magistrate
Senior Constable Kevin King (pictured, far left), Constable Glen Humphris (second from left), Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor (second from right) and and Constable Josh Prestney (far right) all died in the crash
Ms 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.
Mr Dann previously said Pusey would likely plead guilty to charges if police withdrew the rarely used charge.
The court has 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.
The driver of the truck, Mohinder Singh, was charged with four counts of culpable driving and an array of other drug charges.
Police allege that Singh, who also remains behind bars, was affected by illicit drugs and fatigue when he got behind the wheel of the truck on April 22.
The manager of the trucking company, Simiona Tuteru, has also been charged with four counts of manslaughter.
The hearing against Pusey continues.