Co-written by: Georgia Walker (Criminal and Family Law Graduate)
KEY TAKE OUTS
- Melbourne underworld figure, Tony Mokbel, has had his conviction for trafficking $750,000 worth of cocaine into the country in 2000 overturned due to Nicola Gobbo’s role as a police informant against him.
- Mokbel is one of three men who have been released from prison or had convictions overturned this year in the wake of the Lawyer X scandal.
- The Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants has found that upwards of 1,000 criminal cases in Victoria may be compromised due to Ms. Gobbo acting as a police informant whilst representing clients.
Melbourne drug kingpin, Tony Mokbel, has had a conviction thrown out by Justices Chris Maxwell and David Beach amidst the ongoing “Lawyer X” scandal. The conviction in question was for his alleged involvement in a shipment of $750,000 worth of cocaine from Mexico back in 2000. Solicitor Nicola Gobbo, otherwise known as “Lawyer X”, acted for Mr. Mokbel in criminal proceedings for the drug trafficking matter, whilst simultaneously acting as a paid informant for Victoria Police. Mr. Mokbel fled to Greece whilst proceedings were underfoot and was convicted for the offence and sentenced to 12 years imprisonment in March 2006. Mr. Mokbel was eventually extradited to Australia to serve his prison sentence after he was found in a Greek coffee shop wearing a wig.
Mr. Mokbel is one of three former clients of Ms. Gobbo who have had convictions overturned this year in the wake of the Lawyer X scandal. Mr. Faruk Orman was the first after he had his conviction quashed and was released in July this year after being imprisoned for acting as a getaway driver in the murder of underworld figure Victor Pierce in 2002. In October, Mr. Zlate Cvetanovski was released following findings that Ms. Gobbo had interfered with a witnesses during his drug trafficking trial. Only two days ago, Mr. Salvatore Asgresta was released on bail pending the appeal for his conviction of trafficking millions of ecstasy pills into Australia from Italy in 2007, whereby the pills were hidden in tomato tins.
It appears that these releases from custody and overturning of convictions may be the first of many, as a Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants made findings that upwards of 1,000 criminal cases in Victoria may be compromised due to Ms. Gobbo acting as a police informant whilst representing clients.
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