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court reporter Danny Tran

Mohinder Singh has prison sentence for Eastern Freeway crash reduced by three-and-a-half years

Mohinder Singh Bajwa has had his original sentence of 22 years reduced by three and a half years. (AAP: Luis Ascui)

A truck driver who struck and killed four police officers on a Melbourne freeway will serve less time in prison after swearing he will take the stand against his boss at an upcoming criminal trial.

Mohinder Singh was originally ordered to spend 22 years behind bars over the deaths of the officers, but on Thursday three justices of the Court of Appeal resentenced him to 18 years and six months after he promised to give evidence against Simiona Tuteru.

Mr Tuteru is facing four charges of manslaughter, with police alleging the trucking boss should not have let Singh, who was severely sleep deprived and drug affected, drive on the day of the crash.

Mr Tuteru vigorously denies the charges and will be contesting the allegations at court.

Singh will have to serve at least 14 years and six months before he can apply for parole.

Before he was resentenced today, the 49-year-old gave an undertaking to the Court of Appeal to take the witness stand through his lawyer, Steven Pica.

"Do you understand Mr Singh that you might be called upon numerous times … by the prosecution to give evidence in this matter," Mr Pica put to him.

"Yes, I'll come as many times as I have to," Singh said.

"Do you understand that if you fail and breach your undertaking to give evidence on behalf of the prosecution … the most likely punishment that would be imposed upon you is an additional term of imprisonment," Mr Pica said.

"Yes," Singh said.

Victoria Police accepted deal days after original sentence handed down

In April 2020, Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor and First Constable Glen Humphris pulled over Melbourne man Richard Pusey for driving his Porsche at 149 kilometres per hour on the Eastern Freeway.

Two other officers — Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Josh Prestney — then arrived at the scene and were standing in an emergency lane when the truck, driven by Singh, veered into the lane, killing all four.

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.

Officers Glen Humphris, Kevin King, Lynette Taylor and Joshua Prestney died in the crash. (Supplied: Victoria Police)

It was later uncovered that Singh was seriously sleep deprived and only had five hours of rest in the three days before the collision.

He was also a prolific ice user, a habit that had made him actively psychotic at the time, causing him to see witches and believe in aliens.

Today, Justices Karin Emerton, Emilios Kyrou and Terry Forrest said that they allowed the appeal on the basis that "fresh evidence" was not before the sentencing judge.

"The fresh evidence was that, nine days after he was sentenced, the police accepted Mr Singh's long-standing offer to cooperate with the authorities by giving evidence in the criminal trial of his supervisor," Justice Emerton said.

"Because the offer was not accepted prior to Mr Singh's sentence, he was deprived of the opportunity of receiving moderation in his sentence," she said.

The Court of Appeal heard that in May 2020, Singh said he would cooperate with police by giving evidence against his boss, an offer that was open even when he was sentenced in October 2020.

The tragedy prompted outpourings of grief and support from the public. (AAP: Scott Barbour)

Victoria Police accepted the offer nine days after the sentence.

"It was therefore argued on behalf of Mr Singh, that he did not have the benefit of his cooperation with police when he was sentenced, and that this fresh evidence should lead to the sentencing discretion being reopened by the Court of Appeal," Justice Emerton said.

"The Court of Appeal accepted this argument. It found that both the sentencing judge and Mr Singh's lawyers were deprived of the opportunity to fully appreciate the mix of factors that were relevant to the exercise of the judge's sentencing discretion."

Grieving family 'disappointed and pretty flat'

Singh, a father of two, was originally jailed for 12 years for each police officer he killed, but was ordered to serve some of those jail terms at the same time as others, as opposed to back-to-back.

Today, each of those charges was reduced to 10 years for each officer.

Singh appeared in court from the Metropolitan Remand Centre.

He has already served 855 days behind bars.

Constable Prestney's brother and fellow officer, Alex Prestney, said his family was "disappointed and pretty flat about it".

"Flat about having to go through this and continue having to go through this … the nightmare that just keeps going on and on," he said.

"It was hard as well the fact that during these appeal hearings, we don't hear the victim's names, we don't hear the names of the four officers.

"It takes away the actual humanisation of what actually happened and it goes through the rigmarole of the judicial system and the court process which is obviously all part of it, but it's very difficult."

The decision has devastated Wayne Gatt from the Police Association of Victoria.

"This man may now be afforded additional days of freedom. Not a single extra day can be added to the lives of our four fallen members," Mr Gatt said.

"That is something many police will find difficult to grapple with."

Victoria Police has declined to comment.

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