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Charges against trucking boss over freeway police deaths put permanently on hold

Simiona Tuteru employed truck driver Mohinder Singh at the time of the crash. (AAP: James Ross)

A trucking boss charged over a horror crash that killed four Melbourne police officers has had the case against him put permanently on hold, with a judge labelling it a "misuse" of court process.

Supreme Court Justice Lex Lasry criticised Victoria's Director of Public Prosecutions on Friday for acting "oppressively and unfairly" in the handling of the case against Simiona Tuteru, 51.

Mr Tuteru, who worked as a manager at transport company Connect Logistics, was facing charges of breaching national heavy vehicle laws over the crash in 2020 on the Eastern Freeway.

One of his drivers, Mohinder Singh, was jailed for 18 years and six months for ploughing his truck into the police officers as they stood in an emergency lane having pulled another driver over.

Singh was severely sleep-deprived and drug-affected on the day of the crash, and police allege that Mr Tuteru should have stopped him from driving.

Justice Lasry said despite two and a half years passing, the case was still not ready for trial, putting responsibility for that on the prosecution.

"To continue with this matter would be an abuse of process," Justice Lasry said.

He put a stay on the proceedings, saying it was necessary to protect the integrity of the court.

"A stay is a rare and exceptional order to make," he said.

The prosecution's case was described by Mr Tuteru's lawyer David Hallowes SC as "a constantly movable feast" and "highly unsatisfactory", the Supreme Court heard on Friday.

He said Mr Tuteru had still not been informed of the nature and substance of the offences he had allegedly committed.

"It would be oppressive to proceed with a Supreme Court trial given that if it had not been for the Director of Public Prosecution's handling … [the case] would likely have had the matter dealt summarily in the Magistrates' Court two years ago," Justice Lasry said.

"It is only in an extreme case a permanent stay of proceedings would be ordered."

Mr Tuteru has vigorously maintained his innocence.

In August last year, manslaughter charges against Mr Tuteru were unexpectedly dropped by Crown Prosecutor Robyn Harper, prompting blistering comments from Justice Lasry about the unsatisfactory approach by the DPP.

In April 2020, Singh veered into Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, First Constable Glen Humphris, Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Josh Prestney as they were standing in an emergency lane of the Eastern Freeway.

The officers had just pulled over Melbourne man Richard Pusey for driving his Porsche at 149 kilometres per hour.

In the moments after the crash, Singh was heard wailing: "Oh no, oh no."

The crash was the single greatest loss of life in Victoria Police's history.

At the conclusion of Friday's hearing, Justice Lasry addressed Mr Tuteru, telling him he was free to leave the court docks.

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