Menu
Cuzz Media

Cuzz Media

Cuzz Media is part of t...

NAB VICTIM

NAB VICTIM

In late 2008 we became vi...

Banking In Australia Today

Banking In Australia Today

Visit Banking in Austra...

Donate Please

Donate Please

We need your support. ...

Prev Next
Welcome, Guest
Username: Password: Remember me
Welcome to the Kunena forum!

Tell us and our members who you are, what you like and why you became a member of this site.
We welcome all new members and hope to see you around a lot!

TOPIC: Lawyer X Scandal Mokbel

Lawyer X Scandal Mokbel 6 months 3 weeks ago #4267

  • DesiredUserName
  • DesiredUserName's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1251
  • Thank you received: 11
  • Karma: 0
Informer 3838: A web of deceit

You have 2 free articles remaining

Enjoy unlimited access from only $3.50 a week.
Find out more
Already subscribed? Log in
By Tammy Mills & Chris Vedelago
8 December 2018 — 7:21am

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Send via Email

Today's top stories
Four-time Olympian launches bid to topple Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott
Four-time Olympian launches bid to topple Tony Abbott

1 hour ago

Warnings 'not possible' before Victoria's outage
Energy
Warnings 'not possible' before Victoria's outage
UK paper pays 'substantial' damages to Melania Trump over false report
Melania Trump
UK paper pays 'substantial' damages to Melania Trump over false report

1 hour ago

Deceptive, cronyism: fur flies in corporate fight
Energy
Deceptive, cronyism: fur flies in corporate fight

In 2009, four Victoria Police officers would find themselves guarding their most valuable intelligence asset as she hid in the Hard Rock Hotel in Bali’s Kuta beach.

That year the lawyer-turned-informer, code-named 3838, had been receiving a stream of anonymous text messages and phone calls promising reprisals if she didn’t “stop telling lies” and “stop talking”.

Police wanted to protect the lawyer until she could appear as a key witness in the most significant police corruption case in the state’s history, the execution murders of another police informer, Terence Hodson, and his wife Christine.
Executed: Terence Hodson and his wife, Christine.

Executed: Terence Hodson and his wife, Christine.

But some of the events on that sojourn fractured her confidence in police, a relationship that had already become strained when she was convinced to testify against the prime suspect, former drug squad detective Paul Dale.
Advertisement

One of the officers treated the protection duty like an end-of-season football trip, getting so drunk that she had to help him back to his hotel. Another was a fish out of water on his first overseas jaunt, his discomfort aggravated by a paranoia about germs.
Kuta Beach in Bali, where police officers took Informer 3838.

Kuta Beach in Bali, where police officers took Informer 3838.Credit:Alamy

Meanwhile, back in Melbourne’s underworld, the case itself was being undermined.

Gangland killer Carl Williams was the star witness, but the lawyer was the police’s ace up the sleeve. Her involvement was to be kept under wraps for as long as possible.

A detective later told the court that three people in Barwon Prison maximum security already knew the lawyer was a witness in the upcoming committal hearing.

“It’s fanciful to think the word hasn’t spread,” another lawyer said at the time.

Then, in the wake of a breakdown in her relationship with police and their attempts to protect her identity, Informer 3838 did an extraordinary handbrake turn and sued them for failing in their duty to keep her safe.

In her decade-long career as a barrister, Informer 3838 had represented a who’s who of Melbourne’s underworld. She had become a trusted adviser to drug traffickers, murderers and mafia figures.
Former drug squad detective Paul Dale at Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2010 for proceedings over the murder of police informer Terence Hodson.

Former drug squad detective Paul Dale at Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2010 for proceedings over the murder of police informer Terence Hodson.Credit:Craig Abraham

When she reluctantly agreed to become a witness against Dale for the Hodson murders, both police and the lawyer believed the criminal fraternity would not care that she was co-operating to punish an allegedly bent cop.

It was a fundamental miscalculation, one of a series that would unravel the arrangement.

The scandal has taken almost a decade to play out, but it unfolded largely in secret, shrouded in suppression orders.

For years, the bitter legal battle about her involvement had been concealed behind a series of cryptic initials: “AB, CD and EF”. So sensitive was the dispute, so intricate the web of suppression orders over the case, almost nothing beyond those letters could be reported.

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court unwound almost all of that. In an email to Victoria’s journalists the bulk of the publication bans were lifted.

It brought into the light hundreds of pages of secret court decisions about whether or not criminals could be told that their convictions may have been compromised. They were released along with a seething High Court judgement about the conduct of both Informer 3838 and Victoria Police.

“[The lawyer’s] actions in purporting to act as counsel for the convicted persons while covertly informing against them were fundamental and appalling breaches of [her] obligations as counsel to her clients and of [her] duties to the court.

“Likewise, Victoria Police were guilty of reprehensible conduct in knowingly encouraging [the lawyer] to do as she did and were involved in sanctioning atrocious breaches of the sworn duty of every police officer.”

It left Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews no choice but to call a royal commission into the police’s handling of their dynamite informer and the cases the lawyer had contaminated by turning double agent.
Blood in the streets

This tale of deception all began with the gangland war.

In the early 2000s, the bodies were piling up in the battle to control Melbourne’s lucrative drug trade. There was a murder a month. Alphonse “The Black Prince” Gangitano had been killed; Carl Williams murdered Mark Moran; and Victor Peirce was gunned down in his car in Port Melbourne.
Underworld killer Carl Williams.

Underworld killer Carl Williams.

But it was the execution of Jason Moran and Pasquale Barbaro in front of five children at an Auskick game in June 2003 that ramped up the pressure on police to stop the bloodshed.

“It was a desperate and dangerous time,” Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton said this week, seeking to explain why the force had turned to such desperate measures as Informer 3838. When the information pot of gold came, police were willing to bend the law to scoop from it.

She’s known by a few acronyms now - Witness F, Lawyer X, EF and Informer 3838. She also had a high profile in Melbourne's legal and underworld communities. Charismatic, brash and witty she loved a drink with cops and crims alike.

“She wanted to be wanted,” one policeman said.

By one reading, she was also trapped. She knew about crimes that had been committed, or were about to be committed, and said she feared she might be charged as an accessory.

She remembers walking to court one day hoping a tram would hit her so she wouldn’t have to face the ordeals ahead of her.

She claims she was stood-over by her most infamous client – drug lord Tony Mokbel – to ensure the guilty plea and silence of one of his underlings, who was arrested for running a pill press.

The lawyer wanted to be rid of Mokbel, but by then she was in up to her neck.

“She used to mix too much with the clients and wouldn’t listen, despite my warnings that she wasn’t smart enough, she was in too deep,” one lawyer said.

“There’s no loyalty ... they will slice you up as soon as it suits them.”
In deep

Just how the lawyer became a police supergrass is so knotted in disputed accounts and misinformation that even Supreme Court judge Timothy Ginnane would find it impossible to untangle.

What is known is around mid-2003 contact was established between a detective and the barrister that led to what she claims was the single biggest police breakthrough in the escalating gangland war.

She says she was pivotal in turning a key player into an informer.

“His actions,” she wrote of the criminal, “created a precedent for others to follow and was the crack in the dam wall of silence that lead (sic) to a flood. He laid the foundation for the prosecution of numerous murderers.”

With her access, the lawyer quickly became Victoria Police's most valuable informer. The volume and quality of her information meant that in September 2005 she became a registered informant.

Embracing her role, Informer 3838 even began telling on her clients. In one case, she represented a client the same day she contributed to his arrest by tipping off police about his drug lab.

She also began fostering introductions between her clients and undercover police operatives, becoming an “agent provocateur”, as her behaviour has been described in a former client's pending appeal against a conviction.

But there were still ground rules.

Informer 3838’s co-operation had always been conditional on an agreement that she would never be publicly exposed, never called to testify.

That changed when the police’s desperation to solve one of the state’s most infamous murders hit its peak.
Murder, mayhem and corruption

Terence Hodson and his wife Christine were executed in their Kew home in May 2004 after a leaked police file revealed that Terence, a veteran criminal, had become an informer.

Police quickly zeroed-in on a suspect – drug squad detective Paul Dale – and an alleged motive – silencing Hodson before he could testify about Dale’s alleged involvement in the burglary of a drug house. That case had collapsed after the Hodsons’ murder.

But proof was hard to find. It took three years for the first major breakthrough: notorious drug trafficker Carl Williams – who was already serving 21 years in jail when he was sentenced to at least another 35 for the murders of Mark Mallia, Jason Moran and Lewis Moran – began co-operating with police.
Carl Williams sits behind bullet-proof glass at Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2007.

Carl Williams sits behind bullet-proof glass at Melbourne Magistrates Court in 2007.Credit:Jason South

The theory was Williams had acted as broker between Dale and the hitman, Rodney Collins.

From April 2007, Williams provided a series of statements detailing the plot. They were rich with colourful details about a clandestine meeting with Dale in a swimming pool, where they could not be overheard.

Yet Dale remained free because Williams was a “tainted witness” – several Supreme Court judges would later note – with a documented history of providing “inconsistent” and “highly unreliable” information.

Enter Informant 3838, who investigators believed was uniquely positioned to get much-needed corroboration.
Paul Dale

Paul Dale

In 2004, before the Hodson murders, Informant 3838 had acted as a go-between for Williams and Dale, passing on messages and giving Dale burner phones. Dale later testified that they'd also had a sexual relationship, which she denies.

Ultimately she would wear a wire to a meeting with Dale in a South Yarra cafe to discuss the taskforce Petra investigation.

On the covert recording, Dale told the lawyer that Williams’ statement to police was “very accurate”, containing information only the two of them could know.

In February 2009, almost five years after the double murder, Dale was arrested and charged.

In preparation for the prosecution, police deregistered the lawyer as Informer 3838 and began referring to her as “Witness F”. The intention was to keep secret her lengthy history as an informer.

But as a witness her identity could not be kept secret for ever.

“How could anyone trust her after that?” an underworld source says. “Everyone knew she had been wired. Everyone thought she was wired.”

Even a prosecutor in the committal hearing predicted the outcome.

“The criminal underworld may well look at her and say, ‘Hang on, I’ve dealt with her, my mate has dealt with her – what’s she going to say about us when push comes to shove?” the prosecutor said.

By then, police were moving her from hotel to hotel – the Park Hyatt, The Langham, The Westin – there were clandestine meetings in empty floors of high-rises and police were paying for everything from flights to fuel to phone bills.

They wanted her alive for Dale’s trial. Afterwards they planned to give her and her family new identities and relocate them overseas.

Then, on April 19, 2010, Carl Williams was beaten to death in prison with the metal stem of bicycle seat wielded by Matthew Johnson, head of anti-informer gang Prisoners of War.
Prison CCTV footage released after Matthew Johnson's court case shows the convicted killer (left) sneaking up behind Carl Williams (seated) with the stem of an exercise bike before launching his deadly attack.

Prison CCTV footage released after Matthew Johnson's court case shows the convicted killer (left) sneaking up behind Carl Williams (seated) with the stem of an exercise bike before launching his deadly attack.

The charges against Dale were dropped. But whispers continued to spread that the criminal lawyer was a “dog”.
Blowing the lid

Informer 3838 says her information was integral to the arrest and prosecution of at least 386 criminals. Among them were members of the Calabrian mafia-linked syndicate arrested over the world’s largest ecstasy bust in 2008.

Her involvement had been sanctioned by the highest levels of law enforcement in Victoria, including then deputy police commissioner Simon Overland.

Yet the profound conflict of interest at the heart of her co-operation – a barrister who betrayed her own clients – was a ticking time-bomb.

In 2011, Graham Ashton, who knew about 3838 in his role at the Office of Police Integrity, became head of the crime department in Victoria Police. Ashton asked for an internal review and the response was unequivocal: “We have an issue.”

A formal investigation, known as the Comrie Review, found the lawyer had potentially “disregarded legal professional privilege” and “potentially interfered with the right to a fair trial”. Some convictions of her clients may be “open to claims of being unsafe”.

For the next two years, the police ran internal probes as potentially tainted trials and appeals continued to run in courts, the Office of Public Prosecutions none the wiser.

Investigations based on her information also continued.

Then, in April 2014, the Herald Sun published a story about “Lawyer X”, describing but not naming a prominent barrister who was recruited and registered as an informer.

An Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission investigation was instigated, then its findings suppressed. It is known that investigator Murray Kellam, QC, found the matter "had the potential to have adversely affected the administration of justice in Victoria", though he stopped short of making any criminal finding.

His report is said to be the first time the OPP had an inkling that the cases it had been running could result in "unsafe" prosecutions and convictions.
Friendly fire

In February 2015, the OPP began its own review. The results prompted then director of public prosecutions John Champion to warn the attorney-general in a confidential report that possible “miscarriages of justice” had occurred.

He was “firmly of the opinion” that those convicted should be informed.
Former director of public prosecutions John Champion.

Former director of public prosecutions John Champion.

What followed is one of the strangest and most expensive legal battles between two government agencies in Australia’s history.

Victoria Police launched legal action against the OPP in 2016 to stop them sending letters to former clients of Informer 3838. They argued the information would result in the murder of the lawyer, a fact that should outweigh other considerations.

A succession of losses followed for Victoria Police. The Supreme Court, the Court of Appeal and finally the High Court rejected their argument. The message was clear: the justice system had been corrupted and accused people's right to due process and independent legal counsel had been compromised.

Victoria Police had known all this eight years ago.

A senior government lawyer's opinion from early 2010 was that protecting the identity of a confidential informant was a powerful reason for concealing their identity, but it wasn’t absolute. There would always be the view that nothing trumps the right to a fair trial.

How Victoria Police could take such a dangerous path – and refuse to change direction when it had the chance – is yet to be answered.

Was it a few bad apples? Incompetence? A command structure obsessed with scoring a conviction? Good intentions gone awry?

“There has never been a more significant revelation than what came out of the High Court judgement. It has the potential to uncover misconduct on an incredible scale, travelling from the informer herself all the way to the highest offices of law enforcement,” said Ruth Parker, solicitor for one of the convicted men.

Beginning early next year, the royal commission will start to unwind this 15-year-long scandal to determine just where it all went wrong, and why.

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Send via Email

License this article

Informer 3838

Tammy Mills
Tammy Mills

Facebook
Twitter
Google+

Tammy Mills is a Crime Reporter for The Age.
Chris Vedelago
Chris Vedelago

Twitter
Google+

Chris Vedelago is an investigations reporter for The Age with a special interest in crime and justice.
Most Viewed in National
Why do fit people have heart attacks? Maybe it's the immune system
Why do fit people have heart attacks? Maybe it's the immune system
How a constable saved a woman on the other side of the world
How a constable saved a woman on the other side of the world
'Change the nation': Invasion Day protesters march through Melbourne
'Change the nation': Invasion Day protesters march through Melbourne
Australia Day 2019: What's on in Melbourne this Saturday
Australia Day 2019: What's on in Melbourne this Saturday
'Shemozzle': hundreds stranded in Bangkok as flight twice cancelled
'Shemozzle': hundreds stranded in Bangkok as flight twice cancelled
Judge breaks down as she jails teen for motorbike rider's death
Judge breaks down as she jails teen for motorbike rider's death
Advertisement
Advertisement
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Lawyer X Scandal Mokbel 6 months 1 week ago #4284

  • DesiredUserName
  • DesiredUserName's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1251
  • Thank you received: 11
  • Karma: 0
Vanishing act: Informer 3838 evidence to royal commission 'in doubt'
By Chris Vedelago and Cameron Houston
February 13, 2019 — 11.45pm

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Send via Email

View all comments

Informer 3838, the key witness in one of the biggest scandals in Victorian legal history, may no longer be compelled to give evidence in the royal commission that begins on Friday.

The Age can also reveal Victoria Police has begun erasing the identity of Informer 3838, also known as Lawyer X, from public records and the internet in a bid to safeguard the former underworld lawyer.

Until now, the controversial barrister, who worked as a police source from 1995 to 2009 while representing a who’s who of Melbourne’s underworld, was expected to be the star witness at the probe into Victoria Police’s use of confidential informers.

Royal commissions have the power to compel witnesses to give evidence except in a very narrow set of circumstances, which cannot be revealed for legal reasons.
Informer 3838 may not be compelled to give evidence

Informer 3838 may not be compelled to give evidenceCredit:Jo Gay
Advertisement

A spokeswoman said the royal commission was confident proceedings would continue as planned.

“Be assured that the royal commission will use all powers available to it...in order to properly investigate its terms of reference,” she said.

The uncertainty comes as the royal commission has already been buffeted by revelations Informer 3838 had been working for police since 1995 - nearly a decade longer than previously disclosed - and the existence of at least five other registered informers who may have violated “obligations of confidentiality”.

It triggered the resignation of Commissioner Malcolm Hyde in a bid to avoid the perception of a conflict of interest as a Victoria Police deputy commissioner in the 1990s and dramatically expanded the workload of the royal commission.
Related Article
Informer 3838
Informer 3838
Informer 3838 scandal: Police fear for lives of five new secret informers

On Wednesday, Premier Daniel Andrews said he had not received any indication that extra time would be needed.

“The commissioner's made it very clear that the commission can do its work with an expanded terms of reference.. but can [still] meet the timelines,” he said.

The steps the police have recently taken to expunge information about Informer 3838 from public and government records comes after the High Court described her position as a police informer as “fundamental” and “appalling” breaches of her obligations to her clients and the legal system.

Police have ordered Victoria’s property registry to erase all details of five properties owned by Informer 3838 from ownership records. Searching those records now reveals nothing at all about her property ownership.

Government agencies and websites have also been sent warning notifications to remove any material that either inadvertently or intentionally disclose her identity or personal details. The notices have sparked the taking down of photographs and information that could reveal her potential location.

The moves come despite the former lawyer’s own habit of ignoring police advice to keep a low profile. Sources say she has continued to live openly in the community, including appearing in social media posts and public events linked to a community group.

Victoria Police began removing identifying information ahead of a decision by the High Court in early December that ordered her former clients be informed that her actions could mean their convictions were “corrupted” and “debased”.

It is unclear whether the steps taken to scrub Informer 3838’s identity from the public record has been undertaken with her cooperation or permission.

Her client list featured some of Melbourne' most high-profile criminals including murdered gangster Carl Williams, and jailed drug lord Tony Mokbel, drug trafficker Rob Karam and mafia figure Pasquale Barbaro.

While her real name remains suppressed by the court, her identity is an open secret in the legal community and criminal underworld, as well as spreading further into the public domain.
Tony Mokbel was a client of Informer 3838.

Tony Mokbel was a client of Informer 3838.Credit:AAP

Police have long argued that the safety of Informer 3838 is the key consideration in keeping her identity a secret.

“In line with long established best practice Victoria Police does not comment on the security arrangements concerning any person who might be subject to a risk or threat,” a police spokesman said.

The relationship between Victoria Police and Informer 3838 has been highly combative since word of her cooperation began to leak out more than a decade ago.

The barrister has accused police of violating undertakings that her role as secret intelligence source would never be disclosed.

Claiming her life was now in danger and her treatment as a police source had been horribly botched, Informer 3838 sued Victoria Police in 2010 and received a compensation payout of almost $3 million.

By then, her career as a barrister was all but over amid growing speculation in the criminal world and legal community that her involvement with police was extensive.

Decisions by the High Court, Victorian Supreme Court and Court of Appeal to force the public disclosure of her work as Informer 3838 to her former clients led to the establishment of the royal commission.

Throughout the process, Informer 3838 and Victoria Police have been constantly at loggerheads over her safety and how much involvement the force should have in protecting her.

“The witness is NOT compliant with ANY police instructions…[she] will almost certainly breach police instructions,” a senior police officer noted in a court affidavit.

The High Court noted that her resistance to accepting police assistance was putting her children’s lives in danger and could justify the state removing them from her care.

The former barrister has aired serious concerns about relying on Victoria Police for her protection.

At least two high-profile police informers have been murdered while under the care of Victoria Police or Corrections Victoria, including Terence Hodson and Carl Williams.

“I am not prepared to entrust everything personal to me and my children as well our privacy, safety and wellbeing to the very organization that promised and assured me that my assistance over a number of years would always remain confidential, yet failed so appallingly in protecting my status and indeed, has put my life as well as the lives of my children at risk,” she wrote to police in 2014.

“I have implemented various security and privacy measures to date at my own expense.”

With Paul Sakkal
The administrator has disabled public write access.

Legal Services Board handles police investigation 6 months 5 days ago #4285

  • DesiredUserName
  • DesiredUserName's Avatar
  • OFFLINE
  • Platinum Boarder
  • Posts: 1251
  • Thank you received: 11
  • Karma: 0
Embarrassment of snitches: Eight legal figures leaked to police, royal commission told


By Tammy Mills and Chris Vedelago
UpdatedFebruary 15, 2019 — 6.52pmfirst published at 10.39am


A court clerk, a legal secretary, a legal adviser and a gunned-down Mafia lawyer are among the seven people who have been referred to the Royal Commission into Management of Police Informants in addition to Informer 3838.

The explosive first sitting of the royal commission on Friday has rattled the foundations of the Victorian legal system, revealing that police tentacles have reached every level.
Evidence from Informer 3838 is 'in doubt'

Evidence from Informer 3838 is 'in doubt'Credit:Jo Gay

The royal commission heard that Victoria Police disclosed there were seven possible police informers, as well as 3838 or Lawyer X, who may have breached their legal professional privilege, Commissioner Margaret McMurdo AC said.

Between them, those referred to the commission would have had access to highly sensitive information including court records, subpoenaed documents, letters, bank records and contracts.
Advertisement

The solicitors may have heard confessions from their clients, which they were bound to keep confidential, but may have disclosed.

"[The issues at stake] are matters of high principle, fundamental to our democracy," the commissioner said.

Counsel assisting the commission, Christopher Winneke QC, said in his opening address that the integrity of the state's justice system was at stake.

"The work of the commission is not just relevant not just to individuals whose criminal convictions may be affected by any improper conduct of [3838] and Victoria Police. Much greater and more fundamental principles are at stake."

The commission was set up to investigate the use of a criminal barrister turned police informer 3838 and the hundreds of court cases in which she appeared and which may have been tainted.

The commission was told on Friday that Informer 3838 would "co-operatively assist" its investigations.
Related Article
Tony Mokbel is among the high-profile gangland criminals whose cases are affected.
Informer 3838
Informer 3838: The gangland lawyer scandal explained

The commissioner also revealed that a secure mailbox would be opened for three weeks for members of the public to make submissions about the cases, anonymously if required.

"We are now calling for public submissions and from Monday 18 February people will be able to make these submissions via the secure online portal of the Commision's website.

"We encourage individuals and agencies who can contribute to the investigation ... to make a submission."

Commissioner McMurdo said police believed only one of their contacts, a male solicitor who met with officers in April 2014, possibly breached their professional obligations but that the accuracy of their information would investigated.

Police referred to the solicitor as a "community contact" and "given the risks posed by his profession", he was not approved as a police informer and his file was deactivated in May 2014 without intelligence being obtained, the commissioner said.

Police disclosed there was another lawyer, now deceased, who had provided information.

This lawyer’s death is the subject of an "ongoing homicide investigation," the commissioner said.

It is understood he was slain mafia lawyer Joseph "Pino" Acquaro, although he was not named in Friday's royal commission hearing.
Joseph 'Pino' Acquaro was gunned down in Brunswick in March 2016.

Joseph 'Pino' Acquaro was gunned down in Brunswick in March 2016.

The 54-year-old, who represented several prominent Melbourne gangland and Calabrian crime figures, was shot and killed as he left his Lygon Street cafe Gelobar in Brunswick East in March 2016.

His client list included convicted drug trafficker Francesco Madafferi and underworld identity Rocco Arico.

Last year homicide squad detectives charged 69-year-old Vincent Crupi with murder in relation to Mr Acquaro's death.

More details of other police sources were detailed in the commission's hearing.
Commissioner Margaret McMurdo on Friday.

Commissioner Margaret McMurdo on Friday.

One was a court clerk who was registered from January 8, 2011 until May 11, 2016 and had "access to information by virtue of their roles", Commissioner McMurdo said.

Another, registered from October 1, 2009 until May 11, 2016, was possibly a court clerk or legal secretary with a law firm but was not a practising lawyer.

Police had said this person was not "privy to any legal advice" and the information they supplied did not come from meetings between any lawyer and client.

Another was possibly a legal secretary in a corporation who was considered a "community contact" but not an informer, in 2015.

And another was a self-proclaimed legal adviser, but was not a registered legal practitioner, and they too were not registered as an informer, but had a file initiated from December 2015 until January 2016.

But, from Friday's hearing, it seemed most of the commission's work will focus on Informer 3838.

Given the registered number 3838, the lawyer turned supergrass and shared information about Melbourne’s criminal underbelly, some of whom were her own clients.

In her decade-long career as a barrister, Informer 3838 represented a cross-section of Melbourne’s underworld. becoming a trusted adviser to drug traffickers, murderers and Mafia figures.

Mr Winneke said Informer 3838, given the acronym EF, was first registered as a human source in 1995, and again in 1999 before her deregistration in 2009.

The inquiry will also investigate the conduct of current and former members of Victoria Police in their recruitment and handling of her, as well as the force's management of human sources more broadly.

Mr Winneke said the commission will investigate if any legal advice was sought by Victoria Police before or during 3838’s registration.

He said her status and information was not disclosed to the state or commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions.

"The commission will examine whether this apparent situation is in fact correct, and if so, why there was no such disclosure," he said.

Commissioner McMurdo said the commission expected to receive hundreds of thousands of documents from Victoria Police alone and it would have to establish secure premises to store the sensitive information.

The maze of suppression and non-publication orders that prevent 3838 from ultimately being identified is being "steadily addressed" by the commission, Commissioner McCurdo said.

"This has not been straightforward," she said.

"As much as possible, the commission intends to hold hearings in public."

Those hearings will start on a date yet to be fixed, and the commission will be required to report by December 1 this year.

It does not have the power to quash convictions, change sentences or order retrials.

Mr Winneke said the significance of this royal commission cannot be understated.

"The legitimacy of our criminal justice system relies on the process being fair and even-handed," he said.

"All members of the community, including importantly the victims of criminal activity, must be able to trust that the justice system and the individuals working within it ... will adhere to the highest standards of integrity and propriety."

The at-times chequered history of Victoria Police's handling of human sources was also touched upon in Friday's hour-long hearing.

Two high-profile police informers have been murdered while under the care of Victoria Police or Corrections Victoria, including Terence Hodson – who was killed along with his wife Christine Hodson – and Carl Williams.

The Hodson murders were linked with corruption in the drug squad in the early 2000s and subsequent reviews found handling of informers was secretive, unaccountable and police had little, if any, control over informers.

The royal commission was announced following a damning High Court decision that described Victoria Police's conduct in their use of Informer 3838 as "reprehensible" and her use had "debased fundamental premises of the criminal justice system".

It came after the Director of Public Prosecutions and Victoria Police fought an epic two-year legal battle over whether the barrister's former clients should be informed that her dual role as a lawyer and informer had compromised or contaminated their criminal cases.

The DPP notified 20 convicted criminals their cases could have been tainted, including Faruk Orman, the gangland getaway driver convicted of murdering Victor Peirce.

Drug traffickers Rob Karam and Tony Mokbel, who earlier this week was stabbed in maximum security prison after boasting that he would overturn his conviction due to the scandal, are also appealing.
Who they are

The people referred to the royal commission into police informers are :

A solicitor who met with police in April 10, 2014 was listed as a “community contact”, but given the “risks posed by his profession”, he was not approved as a police informer. His file was formally deactivated one month later, in May 12, 2014, without police obtaining any intelligence or information.
A court clerk was registered as a police informer from January 8, 2015 until May 11, 2016. Police considered this person “was unable to provide substantial intelligence” and “unreliable and too ‘risky’ to be used” as a police informant “long term”. Police thought this person “was not subject to any legal professional privilege obligations”.
A court clerk, or legal secretary with a firm, was registered as a police informer from October 1, 2009 until May 11, 2016. Police said “there is no indication that the information given to ... police came from meetings between any lawyer and client”.
A legal secretary in a corporation who was registered as a community contact, not as a police informer, from January 8, 2015 to May 11, 2015.
A former solicitor with “significant health issues” was not deemed suitable to be a police informer. Their file was initiated on February 6, 2015 and deactivated three days later.
A “self-proclaimed legal advisor” was not formally registered as police informer. But their file was activated on December 14, 2015 and deactivated on January 26, 2016.
A lawyer, now deceased, had previously provided information to Victoria Police. It is understood he was slain mafia lawyer Joseph "Pino" Acquaro.
Informer 3838, also known as EF and Lawyer X, a defence barrister who was first registered as a police informer in 1995.

With Bianca Hall and Anthony Colangelo
The administrator has disabled public write access.
Time to create page: 0.299 seconds

News

Major Topics

Helpful Resources

Socialize

About Us