A "selfish" truck driver who killed four Victoria Police officers in the single deadliest incident in the state's policing history has been jailed for 22 years.
Mohinder Singh, 48, stood but did not react in the Victorian Supreme Court as Justice Paul Coghlan ruled he must serve a minimum non-parole period of 18 years and six months for four counts of culpable driving causing death after he crashed into the emergency lane of the Eastern Freeway on April 22 last year.
The Cranbourne man's sentence also took into account three counts of trafficking a drug of dependence and one count of possessing a drug of dependence.
Singh, who was high on ice and sleep-deprived on the day of the crash, had claimed he saw a witch before he ploughed the 20-tonne vehicle into the four officers near Kew as they carried out a traffic stop.
Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Senior Constable Kevin King and constables Glen Humphris and Josh Prestney all died at the scene from horrific injuries.
"I have watched the footage on a number of occasions — it is chilling," Justice Coghlan told Singh.
"The police officers had no hope."
Coghlan said Singh should have been able to understand and avoid the risk he was taking.
"In my opinion he was able to reason with ... the specific conduct of driving a heavy truck while fatigued and [high on ice] ... was wrong," he said.
He said Singh was "selfish" for driving when he was clearly "unfit" to do so.
"It has been put that the threat to you was that you might lose your job," Coghlan said.
"You were simply unfit to do the job and had little legitimate claim to keep your position. In the sense you drove to keep your job, that decision was selfish."
He told the court that in the 70 hours prior to the collision, Singh had "five hours of rest".
The officers who died that day had pulled over Porsche driver Richard Pusey because he was speeding. Pusey, who was urinating behind a barrier when Singh's truck crashed through the emergency lane, later filmed the officers while they were dying.
During a pre-sentencing hearing last month, prosecutor Brendan Kissane QC said Singh had not slept for more than a week and was so affected by drugs that at one point he "couldn't even speak".
Kissane said the truck driver had warned a colleague the night before the crash that he was not fit to drive.
The colleague recommended he "go and see a doctor" but when Singh raised the issue with his supervisor on the morning of the crash he was shut down.
Text messages exchanged between Singh and his supervisor between 8.52am and 9.12am on the morning of the crash were read out in court.
SINGH: "Hi Simon I saw Steve last night … I'm going through some hard times at home and other things. I need to come and speak to you about some of them. I don't know who to tell the story to. I'm going to a doctor about it. When can I come see you."
SUPERVISOR SIMON TUTERU: "Talk this arvo. I will be in office."
SINGH: "OK but Steve saids [sic] I'm not fit to drive."
TUTERU: "Steve is NOT a doctor."
SINGH: "OK thanks."
Tuteru, 49, has been charged with four counts of manslaughter.
Minutes after those texts were sent, Singh returned home where he saw a woman. She would later comment: "He was off it. He was talking nonsense. He was saying witches are coming and we had to leave. I had never seen anyone as drug f***ed in my life."
Within hours, four police officers would be dead and Singh would be arrested.
Singh 'saw ghosts' regularly before crash
Justice Coghlan told the court Singh had a drug-induced psychosis but also claimed to have seen ghosts and UFOs since his early years.
He said Singh told doctors he once carried out a seance where "the table moved and knives were flying around". Singh claimed he called police for help.
In the month before the crash, Singh told his brother he had seen soldiers, "both dead and alive", from WWII.
The court also heard Singh "smoked, snorted and injected ice" and that for the last few years he was doing so "most days".
"You said you took it basically for work because it helped you stay awake," he said.
Earlier, in front of Coghlan, Kissane read out details of the offending, including that the "offender hadn't slept for eight days".
He told the court that in the days leading up to the crash, Singh was so affected by drugs that "he couldn't even speak".
On April 19, three days before the crash, Singh spent 10-12 hours in a Dandenong motel room where he consumed so much ice that he "struggled to continue using".
He said that polysubstance abuse and a "lack of opportunity for proper rest" left Singh in a state of "significant fatigue and impairment".
The court heard that Singh was swerving into and out of the emergency lane on the day of the crash so frequently that a witness commented to a family member: "This dude's going to f***ing kill someone".
"Eastlink footage shows the offender's truck dipping and veering out of its lane," Kissane said. "Witnesses … also noticed the offender's truck dip into the emergency lane.
"The truck drifted completely into the emergency lane for a couple of seconds before veering back on the roadway."
He said that at the time of the crash, all four police officers were standing between police vehicles and the guard rail. Singh, who claimed he was "cursed" by a witch at the time of the crash, did not apply his brakes despite a collision warning appearing on his vehicle's dashboard "until the collision occurred".
"There was no reactive braking until the time of impact," Kissane said. "The collision resulted in the deaths of all four officers."
The court heard Singh told his son that he was being followed by a witch in the days before the crash. "He stated he had been seeing a witch that had changed clothes," Kissane said.
Melbourne Magistrates' Court previously heard claims from Singh that he saw a witch and the witch put a spell on him.
"I was tired, I was tired, couldn't sleep cos I was seeing that witch, that witch was – that put a spell on me and I couldn't sleep at all," Singh told police in the days after the crash.
A doctor found he had ice in his system which impaired his ability to drive and a fatigue expert found he had a mere five hours of "potential rest" in the three days leading up to collision.
He told police he saw the four officers in front of his truck before the crash.
"I can still see them in front of my truck and I tried to slam the brakes on 'em and I couldn't stop it, I couldn't stop it."
But court documents state that an analysis of data from the truck's computer showed Singh didn't attempt to hit the brakes until the impact.