The final report has recommended for the conduct of Nicola Gobbo and relevant Victoria Police officers to be referred to a Special Investigator.
The final report into the Lawyer X scandal has recommended for the conduct of former police informant Nicola Gobbo and relevant Victoria Police officers to be referred to a Special Investigator.
Royal Commissioner Margaret McMurdo handed her final report to Victorian Governor Linda Dessau this morning before it was tabled in Parliament.
The report, which extensively examined the conduct of the former gangland barrister, comes after 129 days of inquiry hearings.https://twitter.com/Eliza_Rugg9/status/1333232974985248768
In the report, Ms McMurdo said the Special Investigator would consider whether there was sufficient evidence for Ms Gobbo, and the police members involved, to be criminally charged or disciplined.
"The Commission recommends that the conduct of Ms Gobbo and relevant current and former Victoria Police officers be referred to a Special Investigator, to consider whether there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against them, and/or disciplinary charges in the case of current Victoria Police officers," the report read.
Ms McMurdo decided against making findings as to whether Ms Gobbo or any Victoria Police officers may have engaged in criminal conduct.
"The question of whether Ms Gobbo and Victoria Police officers did, in fact, commit criminal offences or misconduct, and the implications of any such conduct for potentially affected persons' cases, will be matters for investigatory and prosecuting agencies and the courts to determine," she stated in the report.
A suite of reforms and a total of 111 recommendations have been detailed, including increasing accountability and transparency in Victoria Police's use and management of human sources, establishing a model of independent external oversight, reinforcing police disclosure obligations and improving aspects of legal profession regulation.
The report also proposed governance and monitoring measures to ensure Victoria Police and other relevant agencies implemented these reforms "in an effective and timely way".
The Royal Commission found Ms Gobbo's role as a police informant, where she informed against her own clients, may have affected 1011 cases in the criminal justice system.
The findings could see more gangland criminals have their convictions overturned.
Many criminals have launched appeals since the commission came to an end, with two clients being acquitted of their crimes.
Zlate Cvetanovski was acquitted of drug trafficking convictions last month, after he spent more than a decade in jail, while Faruk Orman was set free last year.
Ms McMurdo said while the community may see Victoria Police's ability to secure convictions against people accused of committing "serious violent and drug-related offences" - with Ms Gobbo's assistance - as a "positive outcome", it undermined the integrity of the criminal justice system.
"That view, while understandable, overlooks the far-reaching and detrimental consequences of the conduct of Ms Gobbo and Victoria Police," she said in the report.
Ms McMurdo found Ms Gobbo's two former clients who were acquitted of their crimes had been "deprived of their liberty, spending many years in prison after unfair trials".
"Numerous other people are seeking to appeal their convictions," she said.
"There have been many court proceedings and inquiries, at great public expense, and there are likely to be more.
"These events have put at risk the integrity of the criminal justice system, harmed the reputation of the legal profession, and diminished public confidence in Victoria Police."
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said the conduct of police regarding Ms Gobbo was a breach of trust and said he was sorry.
"As Chief Commissioner, I have apologised to the courts and to the community for what occurred and I do so again today," he said.
"I also apologise for our failure to identify and disclose what was occurring at the time."
Mr Patton said the ends do not justify the means, and using Ms Gobbo as an informant "was a profound failure by our organisation that must not, and will not, ever be repeated".
In criminal proceedings, police and prosecuting agencies have a duty to disclose all material relevant to an accused person's case.
However, Ms Gobbo's status as a "human source" police informant was not disclosed to the court, the report stated.
Ms Gobbo, giving evidence before the commission, admitted aspects of her conduct were "unethical and wrong".
"The Commission's role in exposing Ms Gobbo's actions, although not judicial, is a powerful one," the report read.
"It's inquiry has shone a bright light on the extraordinary reach of her once-hidden wrongdoing."
Victorian Attorney-General Jill Hennessy today described the conduct exposed in the report as "truly appalling", while vowing to immediately begin to implement all the recommendations outlined in the report.
Legislation will be drafted to establish a Special Investigator to determine whether Ms Gobbo or Victoria Police committed any criminal offences.
The investigator must have more than 10 years experience in criminal law.
An independent monitor will also be set up to oversee the implementation of all the recommendations and reforms detailed.
"We rely on having a justice system that acts on integrity, with fairness and with honour," Ms Hennessy said.
"The conduct that has been exposed has failed all Victorians."
Ms Hennessy said she did not want to see any criminals rewarded when questioned about the possible overturning of convictions, but added the justice system had to be fair.
"We've got to be able to secure convictions fairly and lawfully," she said.
Victoria Police has created a new taskforce to lead the organisational response matters arising out of the royal commission.
"The Royal Commission has shown that our framework for the management of human sources was at the time wholly insufficient for the task at hand and did not provide the robust structure needed to ensure better decisions were being made," a statement by Commissioner Patton read.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/lawyer-x-final-report-to-be-published-examining-damage-nicola-gobbo-police-informing/db6124f3-4edd-4ae3-aa57-8a438add4d69