The final report in the Lawyer X Scandal has recommended that the conduct of former police informant Nicola Gobbo and the responsible Victoria police officers be referred to a special investigator.
Royal Commissioner Margaret McMurdo presented her final report to Victorian Governor Linda Dessau this morning before it was submitted to Parliament.
The report, which examined the former Gangland attorney’s conduct in depth, comes after 129 days of hearings.
In the report, Ms. McMurdo said the special investigator would investigate whether there was enough evidence that Ms. Gobbo and the police officers involved were being prosecuted or disciplined.
“The Commission recommends that the conduct of Ms. Gobbo and the relevant current and former Victoria Police officers be referred to a special investigator to see if there is sufficient evidence to bring criminal charges against them and / or disciplinary charges in the case of the current Victoria Police officers “read the report.
Ms. McMurdo chose not to make any determinations as to whether Ms. Gobbo or Victoria Police officers may have committed criminal behavior.
“The question of whether Ms. Gobbo and Victoria’s police officers actually committed crimes or misconduct, and the impact of such behavior on potentially affected cases, will be a matter for investigative and law enforcement agencies and the courts,” she said in the report.
The final report on the Lawyer X scandal is to be published. (9NEWS)
A number of reforms and a total of 111 recommendations were detailed, including increasing accountability and transparency in the use and management of human resources by the Victoria Police, creating a model of independent external oversight, strengthening police disclosure requirements and improving Aspects of Regulation of Legal Professions.
The report also proposed governance and oversight measures to ensure that the Victoria Police and other relevant authorities implement these reforms “effectively and in a timely manner”.
The Royal Commission found that Ms. Gobbo’s role as a police informant, where she briefed against her own clients, may have affected 1,011 criminal justice cases.
The results could lead to more gangland criminals overturning their beliefs.
Many criminals have appealed since the commission closed and acquitted two clients of their crimes.
Zlate Cvetanovski was acquitted of drug trafficking after information was revealed by Attorney X Nicola Gobbo. (Nine)
Ms. McMurdo said while the community has viewed – with the assistance of Ms. Gobbo – as a “positive outcome”, the Victoria Police’s ability to obtain convictions against those charged with “serious violence and drug offenses” has been undermine the integrity of the criminal justice system.
“This view, while understandable, overlooks the far-reaching and adverse consequences of the conduct of Ms. Gobbo and the Victoria Police,” she said in the report.
Ms. McMurdo noted that Ms. Gobbo’s two former clients, who were acquitted for their crimes, “had been deprived of their liberty and spent many years in prison after unfair trials”.
“Numerous other people are trying to appeal their beliefs,” she said.
“There have been many litigation and high public cost investigations, and there are likely to be more.
“These events have compromised the integrity of the criminal justice system, damaged the reputation of the legal profession and reduced public confidence in the Victoria Police Department.”
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton said the police behavior regarding Ms. Gobbo was a breach of trust and he is sorry.
Chief Commissioner Shane Patton says the objectives do not justify the means of using informants. (Nine)
“As the chief commissioner, I apologized to the courts and the community for what happened, and I’m doing it again today,” he said.
“I also apologize for the fact that we did not identify and disclose what happened at that point.”
Mr Patton said the ends do not justify the means and the use of Ms. Gobbo as an informant “has been a grave mistake by our organization that can and will never be repeated”.
In criminal proceedings, the police and the public prosecutor’s office are obliged to disclose all material relevant to the case of an accused.
However, Ms. Gobbo’s status as a police informant from “human sources” was not disclosed to the court, the report said.
Ms. Gobbo, who testified before the commission, admitted that aspects of her behavior were “unethical and wrong”.
“The role of the Commission in exposing Mrs Gobbo’s actions is not judicial, but very important,” the report said.
“Your investigation has shed bright light on the extraordinary scope of your once hidden misconduct.”
Victorian Attorney General Jill Hennessy today described the conduct exposed in the report as “truly appalling,” while vowing to immediately begin implementing all of the recommendations set out in the report.
Legislation is being drafted to set up a special investigator to determine whether Ms. Gobbo or the Victoria Police Department have committed any crime.
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 detailed recommendations and reforms.
“We depend on a judicial system that responds to integrity, fairness, and honor,” said Ms. Hennessy.
“The behavior exposed has failed all Victorians.”
Victorian Attorney General Jill Hennessy. (Nine)
Ms. Hennessy said she doesn’t want criminals to be rewarded for being asked about the possible overturning of convictions, but added that the judicial system must be fair.
“We need to be able to secure beliefs fairly and lawfully,” she said.
The Victoria Police Department has set up a new task force to oversee the Royal Commission’s organizational response issues.
“The Royal Commission has shown that our human resource management framework at that point in time was completely inadequate for the task at hand and did not provide the robust structure needed to make better decisions,” said Commissioner in a statement Patton.