Australian political scandal: Corruption & illicit sex

Caption: Tony Mokbel is just one of dozens whose convictions may be overturned.

In the days of the ?Moonlight State?, Queensland was a byword for corruption in Australia. Then NSW claimed the corruption crown as Eddie Obeid used that state?s Labor party as a personal investment portfolio. Then in the early 2000s the corruption vulture flew south to well and truly come to roost in Victoria.

What goes on in Victoria is often staggering in its brazenness and scale: from a government with nearly half its MPs under investigation for misusing taxpayer funds, to magistrates routinely bailing out vicious criminals and incipient terrorists. The most shocking scandal to emerge to date is ?Lawyer X?.

Lawyer X is the high-profile defence lawyer who represented many of the most notorious names in Victoria?s brutal gangland war of 1998-2006 when nearly 30 gangsters were murdered in a vicious free-for-all.

At the same time, it turns out, Lawyer X was also a police informant. Quote:

Even within the bloodthirsty context of the gangland war, ?Cable Guy? was a particularly nasty piece of work. He was involved in the executions of three people, all carried out in full view of children?Once predators of this kind are finally caught by police, you?d hope they are in for life. Instead, he is already out, living among us, having served a minimum sentence of just 10 years in jail. We can?t tell you where he is living and under what name because, in Victoria, his identity is concealed by a thick blanket of suppression ?orders. But we can tell you how this was allowed to happened. The story starts with Lawyer X.

Lawyer X was a criminal ?defence barrister. She was also, for four years, registered police ?informant 3838. She informed on crooks. She informed on cops. In a grievous breach of legal ethics, she informed on her own clients. ?According to Lawyer X, she played a ?pivotal role? in convincing Cable Guy to rat on other crooks in exchange for a substantially reduced sentence?

The decision to accept Cable Guy as a prosecution witness and reward him generously for his ?assistance started a chain reaction in which, in the prophetic words of Supreme Court judge Betty King, crooks either got on the bus or were run over by it. We now know who was driving the bus.

The early release from prison of three gangland killers is a perverse outcome of what the High Court described as Lawyer X?s ?fundamental and appalling breaches? of her professional obligations and reprehensible conduct by Victoria Police. Another is the 35-year minimum sentence imposed on Ange Goussis, a gangland patsy, for two murders that no one in the underworld believes he committed. End of quote.

While Lawyer X?s information put a lot of bad people behind bars, her actions also corrupted the entire process. Not only did some vicious criminals get rewarded for ratting on their associates, it now seems probable that dozens of convicted criminals will be set free, possibly even compensated. Quote:

?They wanted the people who were ?ordering the killings because they considered them the worst, but they were willing for the ?actual psychopaths to be walking the street.? End of quote.

Taxpayers have paid through the neck already for this astonishing corruption. Quote:

Victoria Police spent $4.52 million trying to stop the Lawyer X scandal from becoming public and convicted criminals from learning their defence barrister was a snitch?For that money, police command could have put another 67 first-year constables on the street?Lawyer X?s identity remains protected by court orders?

?Victoria Police will have spent nearly $10m on Lawyer X since first registering her as a human source on September 16, 2005. After ceasing to act as an informant in 2009, Lawyer X sued police for failing to ?adequately protect her when she agreed to act as a prosecution ?witness against a former client charged with murder, Paul Dale.

That case reportedly ended in a $2.9m payment to Lawyer X. End of quote.

Of course, no political scandal is complete without a good bit of illicit rooting. Quote:

The woman at the centre of the Lawyer X scandal was involved in a sexual relationship with a former police officer, who was later on a steering committee that managed her role as Informer 3838?A source familiar with the relationship described the officer’s involvement in her management as an “appalling breach of his ethical obligations”.

“This is just another conflict of interest. It appears no one had any regard for probity or proper process at the time.”

It is understood several senior figures in force command were aware of the relationship. End of quote.

Lawyer X’s name is currently protected, but her identity is not hard to find. Especially after The Australian published her connection to an earlier political scandal.