The driver of a refrigerated chicken truck that ploughed into four police officers – killing them all – has whined about his own depression after fronting a Melbourne court.
Mohinder Singh Bajwa, 47, faces up to 20 years in jail after he was charged over the crash.
His barrister Steven Pica told the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday his client may have an undiagnosed mental illness.
‘Mr Singh remains distressed and saddened and depressed as a result of the consequences of his acts,’ he said.
Mohinder Singh Bajwa, 47, faces up to 20 years in jail after he was charged over the crash
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 last Wednesday night
Four police officers were killed when they were struck by a truck (pictured at the tragic scene) in Melbourne, marking the greatest loss of police life in a single incident in Victoria’s history
Singh was initially taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital under police guard after detectives said he suffered a ‘medical episode’ in the wake of the horrific crash at Kew, Melbourne.
But on Sunday, four days after the tragedy, Singh was charged with four counts of culpable driving, and now faces a lengthy stint in jail if found guilty.
Wednesday’s crash killed Leading Senior Constable Lynnette Taylor and her colleagues, Kevin King, Glen Humphris, and Josh Prestney while they were on duty.
The court heard Singh required counselling and medication to deal with his anxiety and depression while in jail.
Mr Pica said his client likely suffered from a previously undiagnosed mental illness.
‘He needs immediate psychiatric assistance,’ Mr Pica said.
He told the court Singh had been kept as an ‘involuntary inpatient’ since Wednesday night when he allegedly ran down the police officers.
Mohinder Singh Bajwa’s lawyer Steven Pica (left) attempts to dodge Channel 7 crime reporter Sharnelle Vella (right) and a pursuing media pack on his way out of the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Monday
Mohinder Singh Bajwa has been charged four days after he was taken to Royal Melbourne Hospital under police guard in the wake of the smash
The officers had pulled over Richard Pusey, who was allegedly speeding down the Eastern Freeway at 149km/h and returned a positive reading for ice and marijuana.
Police also allegedly found an ice pipe in Singh’s truck cabin, and further drug paraphernalia upon a search of his Cranbourne home following the crash.
The court heard police were in the process of sending blood samples taken from Singh to an overseas laboratory for further testing.
‘One of the reasons for the delay is drug results have got to come back from overseas with respect to testing and interpretation of results,’ Mr Pica said.
Prosecutors have asked for 16 weeks to prepare their case against Singh, who did not apply for bail on Monday.
Singh was remanded in custody until October where he will front court via videolink.
He is expected to bring on and bail application over the coming days and weeks.
A disheveled Singh held his head down throughout the short filing hearing.
His barrister strongly opposed release of the police summary of allegations against his client.
Singh got his way, with Magistrate Kieran Gilligan refusing to release the details as they were not formally tended to the court.
Mr Gilligan heard Singh’s case would run separately from Pusey, who was being questioned by police when Singh allegedly crashed into them.
Despite the hearing, it remains unclear how police allege Singh found himself to veer the truck into the emergency lane where police were positioned.
Mr Pica said his client claimed to have a history of anxiety and panic attacks.
‘There is some suggestion within the remand materials that he may of had an undiagnosed (mental) condition for the whole of his life,’ he said.
The court heard while Singh had previously taken medication for his supposed illness, he was not taking anything for it in the lead up to the tragic crash.
On Sunday night, it was reported Singh was ‘reluctant to speak’ to detectives about how his truck veered across multiple lanes of traffic and hit the officers, who were in the emergency lane, at 150km/h.
Police had refrained from interviewing him after he ‘suffered a medical episode’ and ‘blacked out’ following the crash.
In Victoria, culpable driving is the most serious traffic offence, and carries a sentence of up to 20 years.
Under the laws, police must prove the driver acted either recklessly, negligently, under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
A motorist charged with culpable driving cannot be charged with other offences relating to the incident, such as unlawful homicide or driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Singh will face court on Monday charged with four counts of culpable driving – the most serious traffic offence in the state of Victoria
Emergency services took the bodies of the four police officers away from the scene
Police pulled over a speeding driver at 4.50pm on Wednesday, then proceeded to call for backup from highway patrol when they decided to impound the car. By 5.40pm, the refrigeration truck had ploughed into the three cars and four officers, killing them all
The four officers had pulled over a Porsche 911 driven by mortgage broker Pusey which was allegedly speeding at 140km/h about 4.50pm.
About 50 minutes later, Singh’s semi-trailer veered into the emergency lane and struck the stopped cars.
Pusey walked away unscathed because he was urinating beside a tree, and is accused of taunting Senior Constable Taylor as she lay dying.
He is also accused of filming a dying officer and sharing the images with a mate.
A Melbourne court heard on Friday that rather than spring to the officers’ aid after they were hit, Pusey took pictures of the carnage and berated the police.
He allegedly filmed a groaning Leading Senior Constable Taylor, a mother-of-two, while saying: ‘There you go. Amazing, absolutely amazing.’
Pusey (pictured) is alleged to have taken disturbing pictures at the crash sight, showing the officers’ lifeless bodies
Singh – pictured with his wife – is under police guard in hospital. Victoria Police are yet to determine what led to the deadly crash
‘All I wanted was to go home and have my sushi and now you’ve ‘f***ed my f***ing car.’
After the incident, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said he was ‘disgusted’ to learn of the treatment of the officers, but vowed to piece together the events.
‘As chief commissioner, to have four officers killed last night with someone who has clearly been driving erratically on the freeway it disgusts me,’ Commissioner Ashton said.
‘Today, when I’m spending time with the family members of those deceased officers, I can tell you it will absolutely disgust them.’
He went on to say the driver’s actions were ‘very, very low’, made worse by the decision to share photos of the grisly scene to friends.
‘If I wasn’t wearing the uniform of Chief Commissioner, I would give you far more colourful language,’ he said.
‘We will definitely be able to piece together 99.9 per cent of this. We have got a lot of information to go through in the next few days.’
Police on Thursday said it was still ‘too early’ to say what caused the crash.
Investigators took a blood sample and Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said the truck driver did not have an extensive criminal history.
The father-of-two’s university student son, Gurdeep, declined to comment on Thursday.
‘I’m not able to talk to anyone, not able to share any comments. I’m not able to speak,’ he said.
The police car that arrived at the scene was crushed by a refrigeration truck – killing four police officers who were standing by the roadside
Flowers have begun piling up outside the Boroondara Police Station in Melbourne’s north-east
Richard Pusey, 41, the driver at the centre of a crash that killed four police officers, is a mortgage broker
Pusey’s Fitzroy apartment was defaced by vandals on Saturday, while neighbours described him as a ‘maniac’.
‘He has no sense of normal common decency to anyone,’ one neighbour told The Herald Sun. ‘It’s just mind-boggling.’
Beneath the intercom on his $ 3million converted warehouse, Pusey scribbled the words: ‘How’s get f***ed sound pig c**t’.
Pusey would regularly blast music all through the night in his converted home which is decked out with security cameras doors and black windows to shield the outside world.
According to neighbours, the mortgage broker would spray paint profanities throughout the streets near his home, forcing council workers to clean them up.
Others claim they heard constant screams and shouting echoing from his home.
Some confessed they were scared of Pusey’s driving. He would often speed around Smith St in his Porsche ‘like a maniac’ and were aware of his hatred for police.
Footage taken a month before the fatal crash shows Pusey’s luxury Porsche speeding down the same highway.
‘Everyone knew it would eventually spiral, but we didn’t realise it would spiral this big,’ a neighbour said.
Four slain police officers remembered
Constable Josh Prestney
Constable Prestney, 28, only graduated from the academy in November when he was killed, having joined the force in May 2019.
‘Josh was a much loved and respected member of his squad,’ his obituary read.
‘His brother, First Constable Alexander Prestney, is also a police officer and presented Josh with his badge when he graduated in December last year.’
‘In his spare time Josh enjoyed keeping fit and trained for and competed in triathlons. He is survived by his parents Andrew and Belinda, and his brother, First Constable Alex Prestney.’
Constable Prestney completed a Bachelor in creative industries at the Australian College of the Arts before joining and was stationed at Boroondara.
Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor
Senior Constable Taylor, 60, had a distinguished 31-year career with Victoria Police, joining in January 1989 and graduating in May of that year.
She was recognised by the Chief Commissioner for good work while performing duties at the traffic camera office.
She also earned the National Medal first clasp, National Police Service medal and the Victoria Police Service medal fourth clasp.
Senior Constable Taylor is survived by her husband, a former Victoria Police officer, Stuart Schultz and their two sons, Nathan and Alexander.
‘Having travelled the world, Lynette is remembered for having a great sense of adventure and has instilled this spirit in her children,’ her obituary read.
‘She spent a year sailing around the South Pacific on a yacht, which she continued to live on for a period when she returned.
‘Lynette and her husband Stuart were building their dream retirement home overlooking Bass Strait on Victoria’s south east coast, which would support their passion for travel and fishing.’
Lynette was the primary carer for her sister who had recently suffered a stroke, and this reflected her caring nature, which extended to those she worked with.
‘Lynette had a reputation of going into bat for others and challenging decisions that she believed were unfair.
‘She had a great sense of humour and her colleagues will fondly remember seeing her smiling face every day.’
Constable Glen Humphris
Constable Humphris also only started his police career last year, graduating in March.
Born in Gosford, on the NSW Central Coast, he left school and became an apprentice carpenter and then a personal trainer.
He completed a Bachelor of Exercise and Sports Science at University of Newcastle and obtained Masters in Exercise Physiology at the University of Sydney, becoming a sports scientist and exercise physiologist.
While working for Return to Work in Newcastle he met his partner of four years, Todd, and they moved to Melbourne last year.
‘He enjoyed the food and bar lifestyle of Melbourne and he continued to have a passion for exercise, competing in triathlons and maintaining a high level of fitness,’ his obituary read.
‘His squad mates said he genuinely wanted to help people, had a great sense of community and genuine empathy for everyone – victim and offender alike.
‘Glen is remembered as being very level-headed, caring and supportive with a great sense of humour and had the ability to make light of any situation to calm people.’
Senior Constable Kevin King
Senior Constable King was with Victoria Police for six years, working at several stations in and around Melbourne before joining the Nunawading Highway patrol in April 2019.
‘Kevin was passionate about road policing and knew that it was not just about giving out tickets,’ his obituary read.
He transferred to the Nunawading Highway Patrol in 2018 where the officer in charge described him as ‘an older head with a lot of life experience who always made good judgement calls and decisions’.
‘He was a terrific bloke. A lovely, all round good bloke who took to road policing immediately. He would do anything in his power to not let you down,’ it continued.
‘He always just wanted to laugh, have a good time, and talk about footy. It’s just devastating to lose a bloke like that.’
The 50-year-old father-of-three was well liked, well respected and well regarded by his colleagues, police said.
‘He had a great sense of humour, loved coming to work, and he loved what he did.
Senior Constable King is survived by his wife Sharron Mackenzie, and their three children, William, James and Henry.
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