Gargasoulas faces trial over Bourke Street tragedy: LIVE

Gargasoulas faces trial over Bourke Street tragedy: LIVE

That's all for the Gargasoulas trial blog

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He wanted to explain his actions

It is estimated Mr Gargasoulas was travelling at a minimum of 57km/h when he crossed Elizabeth Street and began driving up Bourke Street.

A witness has described Mr Gargasoulas as "relentless". "He just mowed people down."

Ms Judd has described how Mr Gargasoulas made no effort to slow down after striking a pram and it becoming entangled on the bonnet of the car.

A combination of mechanical failure and being rammed by police brought the chase to an end.

Mr Gargasoulas was shot, Tasered and arrested. 

At the hospital, he told police he wanted to explain his actions.

Mr Gargasoulas made a "no comment" interview after he was released from hospital.

However, he told medical personnel: "I know I f--ked up. It wasn't my fault. The accelerator got stuck."

The matter will now be stood down for five minutes while the court prepares to distribute iPads containing evidence to the jury.

They are being asked to secure each iPad with a personal password of six letters and three numbers, which must be told to court tipstaff.

The jury has left the room.


'Actively targeting people'

The jury has now returned to the court and the matter is about to continue.

Ms Judd will now describe the events as the stolen Commodore being driven by Mr Gargasoulas approached at Flinders Street Station.

There were no police in the vicinity due to traffic. A police officer texted him to say: "Don't do this."

At 1.30pm, he arrived at the intersection and began doing "circles" while the upper half of his body protruded out the window of the car. He gesticulated and "mocked" and "taunted" onlookers and police.

"C'mon, come and get me you c---s," Mr Gargasoulas is alleged to have said, according to a witness.

As he began to slowly drive up Swanston Street, he was being followed by a convoy of marked and unmarked police.

Pedestrians were narrowly missed and had to jump out of the way after he mounted the footpath on Swanston Street. A witness said he appeared to be concentrating hard.

After turning into the Bourke Street Mall, the accused accelerated and "deliberately" drove into pedestrians.

Witnesses say the accused looked like he was actively targeting people.

Ms Judd is now preparing to describe how each of the 33 victims in the charges were struck by Mr Gargasoulas as he travelled down Bourke Street.

A witness heard the car accelerating as the car hit a group of pedestrians.

'Watch, you'll see me tonight on the news'

On January 14, 2017, Mr Gargasoulas was arrested at his mother's address after brandishing a knife.

He was already wanted by police over traffic offences, including an incident where he drove on the wrong side of the road.

On January 17, 2017, Mr Gargasoulas told an associate that if he was chased by police again he would attempt to strike someone in a bid to make his escape.

At 2.15am on January 20, Mr Gargasoulas and his brother, Angelo, got into an argument at their mother's apartment. Mr Gargasoulas followed Angelo into the street and attacked him with a large kitchen knife.

Angelo Gargasoulas.

Angelo Gargasoulas.Credit:AAP

Ms Judd said Mr Gargasoulas told an associate that he believed he had killed his brother.

Mr Gargasoulas allegedly told another associate: "I'm going to do something drastic, take everyone out. Watch, you'll see me tonight on the news."

Mr Gargasoulas returned to his mother's apartment where he convinced a friend, Akiir Muo, to get into his car by threatening to kill himself, her and his mother if the police came.

Akiir Muo.

Akiir Muo.Credit:Eddie Jim

He repeatedly held onto her hand telling her he would not let her out of his sight

At around 10am, Mr Gargasoulas was being followed covertly by unmarked police cars as he drove through the city.

At 11.30am, the "situation changed" when Mr Gargasoulas realised he was being followed. He signalled to police with his hand to approach but then sped off towards Clarendon Street.

The pursuit was called off.

Around 11.37am, members of Victoria's Police Critical Incident Response Team approached the car with weapons drawn in Southbank. Mr Gargasoulas allegedly pushed Muo out of the car and sped off.

After midday, Mr Gargasoulas was seen by two members of the public in Yarraville. He allegedly said: "You'll see me on the news tonight."

He headed back to the city via the West Gate Bridge.

Mr Gargasoulas, who had been talking and texting a police officer, sent the message: "I'm telling you, you're making a big mistake" after he was told police were behind him.

The court is going to take a 15-minute break.

The jury is leaving the court.

'He used ice the day before'

Mr Gargasoulas lived in Coober Pedy until he was 16 years old. In late October 2016, he began using meth frequently.

"He used ice the day before the offences were committed. He was experiencing a drug induced psychosis at the time the offences were committed," Ms Judd said.

Ms Judd is providing the jury with a brief biography of each of the victims who died in Bourke Street.

The court is shown CCTV footage

The jury will later be given iPads that will contain a list of the agreed facts of the case, photographs and maps. The jury will also see CCTV footage.

The court will now be shown some of that footage. Ms Judd said a number of victims and their family members had asked to leave the court because they do not wish to see the footage. Others have chosen to remain.

The footage opens with shots of a Holden Commodore being driven by Mr Gargasoulas through various streets of the inner city.

The footage now shows the car at the intersection at Flinders Street Station. You can see the vehicle doing burnouts and driving in circles.

Audio is being played. You can hear the screeching of tyres.

There are audible gasps in the court room as the car is shown striking pedestrians.

Ms Judd told the jury they will later be shown the footage in greater detail.


An 'awful series of events'

Justice Weinberg has told the court room that Director of Public Prosecutions Kerri Judd, QC, will begin the opening arguments.

Kerri Judd arrives at court today.

Kerri Judd arrives at court today.Credit:Justin McManus

She has now risen to address the jury, calling the Bourke Street incident an "awful series of events".

Ms Judd is describing how Mr Gargasoulas stabbed his brother in St Kilda, fled the scene and was pursued for hours by police. "He deliberately drove into pedestrians."

"In a period lasting only a minute, the accused left a trail of destruction. The fact that these things occurred is not issue."

She also said that the identity of Mr Gargasoulas is also not an issue

The trial is about to begin

The public gallery is now full with the friends and family of victims. Mr Gargasoulas has been escorted into court, wearing a white collared shirt, shiny black track pants and white socks and sneakers.

James Gargasoulas arrriving at the Supreme Court today.

James Gargasoulas arrriving at the Supreme Court today.Credit:Justin McManus

Gargasoulas pleads not guilty

Mr Gargasoulas was arraigned in the Supreme Court on Wednesday afternoon.

He entered his pleas of not guilty one by one as the charges and names of the victims were read aloud.

Justice Weinberg's instructions to the jury

After the jury was selected yesterday, Justice Weinberg spent some time instructing its members on the mechanics of how the case would proceed, what constitutes evidence, and cautioned them about obeying the court's rules (like not reading media coverage or discussing the case with friends or family).

Among the cautions, he addressed the fact that many jury members might need to walk past the scene of incident to get to court.

"It would be normal practice for me to instruct you that you should not visit the scene of the alleged offences," he said.

"Given the nature of this case, I will not direct you to stay away from Flinders Street or Swanston Street or William Street or Bourke Street. You probably cannot get here without going down one of those streets.

"If you need to pass along those streets, by all means do so, but not with a view to engaging in any form of enquiry of investigation, just for the purpose of going from point A to point B."

Justice Weinberg also flagged that CCTV would be a key part of the prosecution’s case and the major facts of the case were not in dispute.

"As you will see, I think, in the course of the evidence a lot of what occurred on that day was recorded on CCTV footage which you will be shown so there really won't be much dispute as to what actually took place on the day in question."

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