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Eastern Freeway truck driver pleads guilty to killing four police officers

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A Melbourne truck driver has admitted he was to blame for a horror crash that killed four Victoria Police officers.

Mohinder Singh, 48, on Thursday pleaded guilty to four charges of culpable driving causing the officers’ deaths during a routine traffic stop on Melbourne’s Eastern Freeway in April.

He was ready to admit his guilt in November, but the case hit a procedural snag.

Leading Senior Constable Lynnette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney were killed when they were struck by Singh’s semi-trailer while impounding a Porsche.

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It was the biggest loss of officer lives in a single incident in Victoria Police’s history.

Dressed in prison greens, Singh pleaded guilty before Melbourne Magistrates Court by videolink from the Metropolitan Remand Centre.

“Mr Singh would like to be clear he’s very sorry for the deaths of the four officers – they are innocent people,” his barrister Peter Morrissey SC told the court.

“He pleads guilty now and we will conduct the proceedings very respectfully in the Supreme Court.

“We would like to note the professionalism in which (Victoria Police) conducted the investigation, in very emotional and trying circumstances.”

Prosecutors previously had withdrawn 27 charges.

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Singh on Thursday also pleaded guilty to six other charges, including trafficking of methamphetamine and cannabis, and dealing with proceeds of crime.

Singh was hospitalised after the crash and has been in police custody since. Previous court hearings have been told he has anxiety and depression.

Prosecutors sought, and defence agreed, to have Singh sentenced in Victoria’s Supreme Court, rather than the County Court as would usually occur.

The move is unusual, but not unheard of in complex or high-profile cases.

It has been done in other cases involving multiple culpable driving charges, including for the trial of Thomas Towle over the deaths of six teens near Mildura in 2006.

After his first court appearance in the days after the crash, lawyer Steven Pica said Singh was “distressed and saddened” at his actions.

Singh will next face a post committal directions hearing at the Victorian Supreme Court on December 11.

No application for bail has been made.

-AAP

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