Police admit they were wrong over Lawyer X saga
Victoria Police has admitted allowing lawyer Nicola Gobbo to leak information to officers about her clients was "profoundly wrong".
The statement follows the release tonight of a 2000-page report published by the royal commission examining the use of the turncoat lawyer during Melbourne's gangland killings.
"Victoria Police has accepted without reservation that permitting Nicola Gobbo to give information to officers about her own clients in this manner was profoundly wrong," the force said in a statement.
"It was an indefensible interference in the lawyer/client relationship, a relationship that is essential to the proper functioning of the criminal justice system and to the rule of law.
"Our failure at that time to ensure that these circumstances were identified and disclosed was also a significant and missed opportunity to right a wrong.
"Victoria Police apologises to the courts whose processes were impacted by what occurred and to the community for breaching its trust."
Drug kingpin Tony Mokbel is among more than a dozen criminals seeking to overturn their convictions due to Ms Gobbo's involvement in their prosecution.
He is serving 22 years' jail for drug trafficking, but his lawyers are seeking a fresh appeal counting on evidence revealed by the commission.
In his submission to the commission, counsel assisting Chris Winneke QC, says it is open to the commissioner to find three cases of Mokbel may have been affected by Ms Gobbo's conduct as an informer, as well as conduct by police members in their handling of her.
"There was the potential for the right of Mr Mokbel to a fair trial to have been interfered with," the submission says.
"Further, it is submitted that there was a failure by members of Victoria Police to make appropriate disclosure to Mr Mokbel and/or his legal representatives."
The submission says Ms Gobbo's role and conduct was something obviously relevant to the defences of many accused but they were not told as a result of a "series of failures".
"Because those failures occurred on so many occasions and across multiple levels of Victoria Police, the failure appears to have been systemic."
Victoria Police says it has come a long way since the events being examined by the commission to ensure a repeat never occurs.
"Victoria Police is committed to continuous improvement in this area, and the recommendations from this Royal Commission will no doubt make an important contribution to this ongoing work."
The royal commission is examining cases affected by the conduct of Ms Gobbo, also known as Lawyer X, and the extent those cases may have been affected.
The inquiry is also considering the conduct of police who recruited and managed her as an informer.
Commissioner Margaret McMurdo is expected to hand down her final report by November 30.
Originally published as Vic police admit wrong over Lawyer X saga