Connect Logistics supervisor avoids jail over Eastern Freeway tragedy

Former Connect Logistics boss Simiona Tuteru, 52, has avoided jail for his role in the 2020 Melbourne Eastern Freeway tragedy that claimed the lives of four police officers.

Tuteru, the former company supervisor, was instead handed a community corrections order of 200 hours for breaching heavy vehicle laws and allowing Mohindar Singh to drive the truck that killed Senior Constables Lynette Taylor and Kevin King and Constables Glen Humphries and Joshua Prestney.

Singh was sleep-deprived and had been taking methamphetamine for days, then drove his truck and fell asleep at the wheel.

In Melbourne’s Supreme Court this week, Justice Elliott said he did not believe Tuteru had shown “total indifference” to Singh’s condition and had genuinely believed the man was fit to drive after their meeting.

Tuteru, a devout Christian, was described as “a person of good character” by Justice Elliott, who said he had no criminal record and strong prospects of rehabilitation.

In a statement read on behalf of the families outside court, Constable Prestney’s father Andrew said the court system was “totally broken”.

“There is relief that after nearly four years, this has finally come to an end,” Andrew Prestney told the media.

“There is also anger, dismay, disillusionment and disappointment at the sentence handed down today.

“Victoria doesn’t have a justice system, it has a legal system where outcomes seem pre-determined, where the guilty have all the rights, the victims have none.”

The families could not believe Tuteru had escaped jail when earlier this year his Sydney-based colleague Cris Large was jailed for up to three years. Large falsified time sheets, and failed to ensure drivers managed their fatigue and that safety measures were followed.

“How is it that the national manager of this trucking company who’s nearly 900km away in Sydney can get three years’ jail but the supervisor who was right on the spot and could have avoided this tragedy walks away with just a slap on the wrist?” Andrew Prestney said.

“How is it that the trial in Sydney on the same charges can go for five weeks, examine thousands of pieces of evidence over a seven-month period and interview dozens of witnesses, but here in Victoria only a 48-hour period was examined in an extremely narrow trial?”

1 Comment

  1. Terrible outcome, judges should make no bearing on prior history unless there are prior issues. Then all they just need to concentrate on is the matter at hand, nothing more nothing less. He was directly involved. Drug & alcohol testing before driving should be mandatory. It’s the only way to prevent further damage to all parties.

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