Richard Pusey: Australian jailed for filming dying officers

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https://www.bbc.com-image copyright EPA

image caption Melbourne man Richard Pusey has admitted to taunting dying police officers

An Australian man has received a 10-month jail sentence for filming and mocking police officers as they lay dying at a crash scene.

Last month Richard Pusey pleaded guilty to the rare charge of outraging public decency, as well as other offences.

The 42-year-old has already been in custody for nearly 300 days, so he will likely complete his sentence within days.

The sentencing judge called his actions “heartless, cruel and disgraceful”.

Pusey’s case has stirred huge public anger. Last month, Judge Trevor Wraight said the media had demonised Pusey to the point where he was “probably the most hated man in Australia”.

What did Pusey do?

The mortgage broker had been speeding in his car on a Melbourne freeway last year when he was pulled over by four officers.

While they were making his arrest, all four were struck by a lorry that had veered out of its lane.

Senior Constables Lynette Taylor and Kevin King, and Constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney died at the scene.

Pusey had been standing a few metres away and avoided the crash, but afterwards pulled out his phone and began filming numerous videos, some of which ran for more than three minutes.

The court had heard that Pusey stood over and taunted Senior Constable Taylor as she remained pinned under the lorry. Experts said she was most likely still alive at the time.

“There you go. Amazing, absolutely amazing,” he said, according to vision from the constable’s body-worn camera which was tendered to a court.

“All I wanted was to go home and have some sushi,” he added, before using expletives to blame the officers for ruining his Porsche sports car.

He fled the scene on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway shortly after. The next day he was arrested at his home and initially charged with speeding, drug possession and reckless conduct offences.

However, police then also discovered Pusey’s video and that he had shared it among friends.

The lorry driver, Mohinder Singh, was jailed earlier this month to 22 years for the deaths.

A court found that the truck driver had been high on drugs, suffering delusions and hallucinations, and driving erratically when he ploughed his truck into the officers.

What did the judge say?

On Wednesday, Judge Wraight condemned Pusey’s behaviour while noting he was only being sentenced for his actions. Pusey hadn’t caused the deaths of the officers, contrary to some public opinion, the judge said.

“Your conduct in recording the police officers in their dying moments, together with the words you used as you recorded, was not only derogatory and horrible… but it was also callous and reprehensible conduct,” Judge Wraight said.

He noted that Pusey had a history of mental health problems, including a complex personality disorder “which may go some way to explaining your behaviour”. But he said it did not excuse his actions.

Pusey had previously testified he felt ashamed about the videos and that he often said offensive things “because that’s how [it] comes out of my head”.

Pusey was also fined A$1,000 (£557; $774), put on a two-year good behaviour bond, and had his drivers licence suspended.

 

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