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Update on bus driver accused of fatal crash

BUS DRIVER COURT CASE
Brett Andrew Button has been charged over a horror crash that killed 10 wedding guests. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

A bus driver is facing further legal delays after he was accused of causing a horrific crash that killed 10 wedding guests and injured 25 others.

Brett Andrew Button, 59, faced Newcastle Local Court on Wednesday over his alleged role in one of Australia’s deadliest crashes.

He was transporting 35 wedding guests from a venue in the NSW Hunter Valley when he allegedly lost control of the coach on the night of June 11 last year.

The bus rolled over at a roundabout near Greta, killing 10 people and injuring 25 others.

Bus driver Brett Button has been charged with causing a horror crash that killed 10 people. Picture: NCA NewsWire
Bus driver Brett Button has been charged with causing a horror crash that killed 10 people. Picture: NCA NewsWire

Mr Button is facing 89 charges related to the fatal crash, including 10 counts of manslaughter and nine counts of negligent driving occasioning death.

He was expected to enter pleas to the charges on Wednesday, but his lawyer Chris O’Brien asked for an adjournment to allow him to obtain expert evidence.

He said the specialist evidence would allow the defence to properly respond to the Crown prosecutor’s opinion so the parties could hold another case conference.

Mr O’Brien said the bus driver would be in a position to enter pleas when he returned to court in May.

“On the next occasion, the parties would anticipate the matter would be ready for committal for trial or committal for sentence,” he said.

He has not entered pleas to the charges. Picture: NCA NewsWire
He has not entered pleas to the charges. Picture: NCA NewsWire
The 59-year-old was supported by loved ones when he entered court on Wednesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire
The 59-year-old was supported by loved ones when he entered court on Wednesday. Picture: NCA NewsWire

Mr Button was flanked by family and friends as he entered the courthouse on Wednesday without saying a word.

His court appearance came less than a month after he broke his silence about the crash for the first time.

In a statement read out by his lawyer in March, the 59-year-old said there was “not a day that goes by that I don’t think about what happened that night”.

“There isn’t an hour that goes by where I’m not thinking of the families that have been affected by my actions,” he said.

“I am devastated by what has occurred and I am truly deeply sorry.”

The deadly crash sent shockwaves through the tight-knit Hunter Valley community and beyond.

BUS DRIVER COURT CASE
Mr Button would enter pleas on his next court appearance, the court was told. Picture: NCA NewsWire / Damian Shaw

Those who died were mother and daughter Nadene and Kyah McBride, Kyah’s boyfriend Kane Symons, husband and wife Andrew and Lynan Scott, Zach Bray, Angus Craig, Darcy Bulman, Tori Cowburn and Rebecca Mullen.

The group had been attending the wedding of Mitchell Gaffney and Madeleine Edsell, who have advocated for increased safety on buses.

“Hopefully, something positive can come out of this tragedy,” Mr Gaffney said.

“Whilst my wife and I can’t do this on our own, we believe ultimately everyone who rides a bus should have access to a seatbelt and be compelled by laws to wear them.”