The latest report on Nicola Gobbo’s scandalous relationship with the Victoria Police, due to be released on Monday, is certainly the worst.
A former police chief, an anti-corruption investigator and the Australian High Court have criticized the matter with Attorney X, classifying the conduct as reprehensible and negligent.
However, Margaret McMurdo’s Royal Commission report comes at the end of an almost two-year investigation into which some of the worst aspects of the saga were first revealed and investigated.
The report brings with it the potential for prosecution of Ms. Gobbo and the police force closest to her, as well as additional convictions that are overturned because of what many believe to be the darkest time in Victoria’s legal history.
It will also be the first report in the saga to be released concurrently with the reading by those involved.
Two people have already been overturned, and dozens more are pending to come next, including Tony Mokbel, one of the country’s most famous criminals.
Up to 1000 other people could have compromised their cases by informing Ms. Gobbo against customers.
Ms. McMurdo, a former Queensland Supreme Court judge, has already announced that she will not recommend a criminal complaint herself.
However, the appointment of a special prosecutor to prepare a case has been flagged.
The anti-corruption watchdog IBAC also has the potential to investigate.
Murray Kellam’s damning 2015 results were made public during the latest investigation, including claims that former Victoria Police chief Graham Ashton once called it a “glittering prize”.
However, a lot has changed since then, including revelations that she was hired as an informant against an ex-lover in 1995 and against her then-employer in 1997.
The scandal has been pulled apart and examined from every possible angle.
Senior police officers were grilled, handlers spent weeks on the witness stand defending how they were using them, and crooks claimed they spent years behind bars just for turning them on.
Ms. Gobbo finally appeared by phone in February.
She claimed she was happy to be there, but the effort it took to get her to do it implied otherwise.
Her first two registrations as an informant were new to her, she claimed. Her explanation for the third registration vacillated between claiming she wanted to take the “Mokbel monkey” off her back and escape the gangland clutches and admitting she loved being the center of it.
“And pathetic as it is to admit that in retrospect I’ve gained a certain amount of self-importance and a feeling that I was relevant or validated because I was wanted by people like Tony (Mokbel),” she said.
Much of the investigation has been spent unraveling decades of her lies – whether much inventory can be made of what she told the investigation remains to be seen.
Ms. McMurdo will no doubt have her views.
Her role in the affair ends on Monday when she presents her final report to Governor Linda Dessau. It is expected to be tabled in Parliament and published publicly on the same day.
What Ms. Gobbo or the Victoria Police say about the recommendations remains to be seen.
In September Victoria Police admitted that it was “deeply wrong” to allow Ms. Gobbo to report on customers.
“Our failure at the time to ensure that these circumstances were identified and disclosed was also a significant and missed opportunity to correct a wrong,” the force said with an apology to the courts.
Australian Associated Press