Brett Button who drove the bus in fatal Hunter Valley crash that killed 10 wedding guests will have to listen to up to 35 statements over three days from traumatised family members

Bus driver Brett Button will spend days in court listening to the impact Australia’s deadliest road crash in decades has had on the families of those killed and the surviving victims.

Button was behind the wheel of a bus when it rolled over while travelling through a roundabout, killing 10 people and injuring others who were returning from a wedding in the NSW Hunter region in June 2023.

The 59-year-old pleaded guilty in May to 10 counts of dangerous driving causing death, nine of dangerous driving causing grievous bodily harm and 16 of furious driving causing bodily harm.

Prosecutors controversially withdrew manslaughter charges in exchange for the guilty pleas, angering the families of some of those killed.

Bus driver Brett Button (pictured) will spend days in court hearing statements from family members of 10 people killed during a horror crash

Judge Roy Ellis has set aside three days in September when Button will hear as many as 35 impact statements on behalf of the victims.

His lawyers sought to have him appear via audio-visual link from Shortland Correctional Centre at Cessnock for at least the first day of the sentencing hearing.

‘I think he should be here,’ Judge Ellis told Newcastle District Court on Thursday, ordering Button to be brought to court for the three-day sentencing hearing beginning on September 9.

Prosecutors and Button’s lawyers will prepare written submissions to the court before the end of August.

The judge will deliver the sentence at a later date.

Victim impact statements are a typical part of the sentencing process, giving those affected by a crime a chance to tell the court about the immediate and ongoing impacts on their lives as a judge considers a sentence.

The sheer number of people affected by the Hunter bus tragedy will mean it takes the courts days to hear their evidence.

Button plead guilty to 35 charges related to the crash (pictured) and will hear up to 35 impact statements from devastated family members

Button plead guilty to 35 charges related to the crash (pictured) and will hear up to 35 impact statements from devastated family members

No formal commemorative events marked the one-year anniversary of the fatal crash on Tuesday, but many people left flowers at the site – a nondescript roundabout on the route from the wedding venue of Wandin Valley Estate to the town of Singleton.

The local council has built a permanent memorial for the victims.

Following the crash, the NSW government’s Bus Industry Taskforce recommended a state-wide campaign promoting the importance of wearing seatbelts and considering an 80km/h limit for buses with standing passengers.

It has also called for technological improvements in vehicles, while another report is in progress with a focus on psychometric measurements for drivers and compulsory drug and alcohol testing.

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