A trucking boss will fight manslaughter charges over the deaths of four police officers in a Melbourne freeway crash.
Connect Logistics manager Simiona Tuteru faces 82 charges after alleging causing or encouraging truck driver Mohinder Singh to get behind the wheel while fatigued and drug-affected.
Singh previously pleaded guilty to culpable driving causing the deaths of 60-year-old Leading Senior Constable Lynnette Taylor, 50-year-old Senior Constable Kevin King, and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney, aged 32 and 28, respectively.
They were struck when Singh crashed into them in the emergency lane of the Eastern Freeway on April 22, while sleep deprived and drug-affected.
Tuteru’s barrister, David Hallowes SC, told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Friday there was not enough evidence to send the company manager to trial for the officers’ manslaughter.
The remainder of the charges against the 49-year-old relate to his alleged breaches of heavy vehicle regulations, including directing or requiring Singh to work while fatigued.
He’s also charged with multiple counts of obtaining financial advantage through time sheets submitted in a false name to hide the real number of hours worked.
A five-day contested committal hearing slated for May will examine what Tuteru knew about Singh’s impaired state on the day of the crash and what he did, if anything, to encourage him to drive.
Singh, 48, earlier this month pleaded guilty to charges including culpable driving causing the officers’ death.
He “looked like he had been up for a week and had five minutes’ sleep” on the day of the crash, according to court documents.
He was sent home from work that morning and urged to get counselling for personal issues.
But Singh returned to work later in the day and “kept talking about witches”. Ice and cannabis were found in his truck.
More than 20 witnesses will be examined in the case against Tuteru and the brief of evidence runs more than 1000 pages.
He will return to court on May 17.