Wednesday 21 June 2023
Former High Court Judge, Geoffrey Nettle, appointed Special Investigator examining the ‘Lawyer X’ scandal, has today tabled a report to State Parliament claiming multiple recommendations from his office to lay charges have not been approved by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Nicola Gobbo (‘Lawyer X’) was a barrister who informed against her own clients as a human source for Victoria Police in breach of her legal and ethical obligations to observe client legal privilege. As a consequence, a number of people convicted of serious crimes have had convictions quashed and have been released.
According to Mr Nettle, multiple briefs of evidence covering various matters under investigation, including the Lawyer X scandal, have been submitted to the DPP, yet none have been approved to proceed to charges.
As such, Mr Nettle has recommended the Office of the Special Investigator (OSI) be disbanded, stating that it has become a “waste of time and resources” and “that the government propose to parliament the legislative amendment necessary for OSI to be wound up.’’
The Liberals and Nationals are today calling for the Andrews Government to give the OSI the power to proceed with charges within its jurisdiction, without having to seek the permission of the DPP.
Shadow Attorney-General, Michael O’Brien, said in Victoria it appears that corruption and cover-up have a use-by by date.
“The Special Investigator has said the evidence is there to lay charges against people at the heart of the Lawyer X scandal, yet the DPP is saying it happened too long ago so shouldn’t proceed to charges. This is simply not good enough,” Mr O’Brien said.
“It is inconceivable that after the scandal of Lawyer X – the perversion of the course of justice and the dodgy dealings between a rotten lawyer and crooked cops – that no one gets charged.”
“In Victoria, the Independent Broad-based Anti-Corruption Commission has the power to lay charges without going through the DPP. We’re calling for the Office of the Special Investigator to have those same powers as there is no doubt that people would be charged with serious offences today if it did.”
“Whether it’s multiple corruption scandals, hotel quarantine, red shirts rorts or Lawyer X, it seems that no one ever has to face consequences under Labor. This is why the OSI must be given the power to proceed with charges.”