Offensive Conduct Offences in NSW

 

Infamous Porsche driver Richard Pusey has been sentenced to 10 months in prison, for the incident which involved him filming and mocking dying police officers.

On April 22 2020, 42-year-old Pusey was pulled over by police for driving his Porsche at 147km/h on Melbourn’s Eastern Freeway, which has a speed limit of 100 km/h.

He was urinating away from police on the side of the road when truck driver Mohinder Singh veered into the emergency lane.

Singh was under the influence of ice at the time and had reportedly been hallucinating and barely sleeping in the days before the crash.

The truck hit and killed the four officers before smashing into the police cars and the Porsche.

Singh was ultimately sentenced to 22 years in jail on four counts of culpable driving causing death, three drug trafficking charges and drug possession.

After the crash had occurred, Pusey walked around the scene filming the officers dying and providing vile commentary.

“I think everyone got cleaned up,” he said. “There’s four people. Look at that.”

The court heard how he then zoomed in on the face and body of a dying Senior Constable as she lay “moaning” at the crash site.

“Absolutely amazing,” he said as he filmed the dying woman.

He then continued to walk around the scene whilst zooming on the injuries of the officers and damaged vehicles.

“That is f***ing justice … That is f***ing amazing,” Mr Pusey said.

He also described one of the dead officers as being “smashed” and said, “you f***ing c***s, you c***s, I guess I’ll be getting a f***ing Uber home, huh”.

Whilst other witnesses at the scene begged Pusey to help, he shrugged and stated: “They’re dead.”

He was subsequently charged with outraging public decency, reckless conduct endangering serious injury by speeding and drug possession.

The County Court of Victoria received a report from Corrections Victoria report deeming him unsuitable for a community corrections order.

Judge Trevor Wraight was reportedly ‘astounded’ at this, commenting: “For some reason they’ve taken some special interest in this case and treated it differently, which I find quite disturbing, to be honest.”

“I would hope they are not treating him differently to any other defendant. But it reads like they are.” he said.

Subsequently, he was sentenced to 10 months in prison for the offences.

As he had already served close to this whilst on remand, his sentence will end shortly.

However, he will need to make a bail application if he wants to be released from custody as he has other, unrelated criminal matters still progressing through the courts.

In NSW, offensive conduct is a crime under section 4 of the Summary Offences Act 1988 (NSW).

It carries a maximum penalty of 3 months in prison, or a fine of $660.

The prosecution must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, that you:

  1. Committed the conduct,
  2. The conduct is offensive, and
  3. The conduct occurred in, near or within hearing from a public place or school.

A public place is defined as a place (whether or not covered by water), or a part of premises, that is open to the public, or is used by the public.

A defence to offensive conduct is if the defendant satisfies the court that they had a reasonable excuse for conducting themselves in the manner alleged.

Furthermore, a person will not be considered to conduct themselves in an offensive manner by merely using offensive language.

There is no prescribed list of conduct that is considered to be ‘offensive’.

Rather, the test is whether a reasonable person, who is ‘tolerant and understanding, and reasonably contemporary in [his] reactions’ would have their feelings wounded or angered, as per Ball v McIntyre (1966) 9 FLR 237.

About Poppy Morandin

Poppy Morandin is the managing law clerk and an integral part of the team of criminal lawyers at Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia . She's also a part of CDLA's content article production team. Poppy is passionate about law reform and criminal justice.

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