On 27 April 2021, Richard Pusey was sentenced for his ‘callous and reprehensible conduct’ of recording dying and deceased police officers at a collision scene on the Eastern Freeway following the collision of Mohinder Singh’s prime mover with the four police officer. Mr Pusey was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment.
Richard Pusey pleaded guilty to the following charges:
- Reckless conduct endangering persons
- Committing an act that outrages public decency
- Possession of a drug of dependence
Of most notable interest to the public, was the charge of Committing an act that outrages public decency.
Circumstances of committing an act that outrages public decency
On 22 April 2020, Mr Pusey was driving along the Eastern Freeway and detected by a calibrated police speedometer to be travelling at 149km/h in a 100km/h zone.
Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and Constable Glen Humphris were in vehicle that detected the speed and intercepted the vehicle before pulling Mr Pusey over on the side of the Eastern Freeway. Some time later, Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Josh Prestney? arrived and parked in the emergency lane behind the first police vehicle.
At this time, all four police members were standing outside their respective vehicles in the emergency lane between the passenger side of the police vehicles and the Armco railing.
Mr Pusey momentarily walked away from the intercept location to urinate on the verge of the freeway behind the Armco railing
Whilst Mr Pusey was away from the parked vehicle, a Volvo Prime Mover towing a double axle trailer driven by Mohinder Singh swerved into the emergency lane and collided with all four police members, the two police vehicles and Mr Pusey’s vehicle.
Upon returning to the scene, Mr Pusey took photos of Leading Senior Constable Taylor before commencing an audio-visual recording on his mobile phone of 1 minute and 12 seconds in duration.
During the recording Mr Pusey walked slowly and purposefully around the collision scene whilst filming, focusing and zooming in on the dead or dying police members at a close distance.
Whilst a number of observations were made as to Mr Pusey’s conduct, the most notable were:
- Mr Pusey walked towards the rear of the truck and stated “look at that man, you f***ing c***s. You c***s, I guess I’ll be getting a f***ing Uber home, huh’;
- Mr Pusey filmed Senior Constable King’s leg injuries and said ‘amazing, absolutely amazing’;
- Mr Pusey filmed the damaged unmarked police vehicle and stated ‘that is f***ing justice, absolutely amazing. That is f***ing amazing
- When asked to hold up a blanket to cover Leading Senior Constable Taylor Mr Pusey did not offer assistance but rather began a second recording.
Despite these actions, it was accepted that Mr Pusey did not directly goad the dead or dying police officers as he walked around the scene filming, and it was also acknowledged that he did not upload any of the footage to social media while another witness who also filmed the scene, did in fact upload the footage to a social media platform.
In determining the appropriate sentence, the Court considered Mr Pusey’s:
- Personal circumstances;
- Entry of a Plea of guilty;
- Verdins considerations (that being considerations that attach to personality disorders);
- Extra curial punishment;
- Custody difficulties due to COVID-19 restrictions;
- General and specific deterrence, denunciation and protection of the community; and
- Prospects of rehabilitation.
Sentence Imposed on Mr Pusey
Mr Pusey was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment. That was on the basis of 8 months imprisonment for his reckless conduct endangering serious injury and 3 months imprisonment for committing an act that outrages public decency (with 2 months cumulative on the sentence imposed on Charge 1).
It was also acknowledged that Mr Pusey has served 296 days (9 Months, 3 Weeks and 1 Day) of imprisonment and that will be considered on the 10-month sentence. The practical effect of that is that Mr Pusey will be eligible for release in the coming week.
A copy of the full judgment can be accessed here.