Guilty Pleas Entered by Brett Button in Fatal Hunter Valley Crash as Manslaughter Charges Withdrawn

Newcastle, Australia – A bus driver facing charges in connection to a tragic crash in New South Wales Hunter Valley has pleaded guilty to multiple offenses, bringing some closure to a heart-wrenching case. Brett Andrew Button, 59, entered guilty pleas to 35 counts related to the fatal incident, which led to the death of 10 individuals and left 25 others injured as they were returning from a wedding.

Button admitted to 10 counts of dangerous driving occasioning death, along with nine counts of dangerous driving occasioning grievous bodily harm during a court appearance. Additionally, he pleaded guilty to 16 associated offenses involving driving furiously and causing harm to the survivors. Notably, charges of manslaughter were withdrawn, and another 25 charges of bodily harm by misconduct were dropped.

The tragic crash occurred on June 11 the previous year when the coach Bus, carrying 35 passengers from a wedding venue, overturned on a roundabout near the town of Greta. Reports indicated that Button allegedly lost control of the bus while transporting guests from the Wandin Valley Estate to Singleton. The bus rolled and skidded along a guardrail, resulting in the devastating loss of lives and injuries.

Family members of the victims observed the court proceedings with heavy hearts as Button tearfully responded to each charge read out by Magistrate Caleb Franklin. The emotional atmosphere in the courtroom was palpable as the names of the victims were connected to the charges, especially when the manslaughter charges were dismissed. Subsequently, Button’s bail was revoked, leading to his immediate custody following the hearing.

The families directly impacted by the tragic event chose to remain silent as they left the courtroom, processing the day’s events in their own way. Nick Dinakis, who suffered injuries in the crash and lost his partner, Darcy Bulman, expressed some relief at the progress made in the case with Button’s guilty plea. Acknowledging that this step might not heal all wounds, Dinakis remains hopeful for the future alongside other victims.

The decision to dismiss the manslaughter charges raised questions that resonated beyond the courtroom, prompting inquiries from public officials like Attorney-General Michael Daley. Daley assured that he would seek a comprehensive briefing from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to address concerns and ensure transparency in the legal process. The DPP, in a statement, extended condolences to the families affected by the tragedy, emphasizing the careful consideration involved in accepting a plea of guilt in such complex cases.