The progress report outlines the key events that led to the establishment of the Commission, including relevant reviews and court proceedings. It then summarises the Commission’s first six months of inquiry and how it is addressing its terms of reference.
The report does not present findings about cases that may have been affected, the conduct of Ms Gobbo or Victoria Police, or other matters arising from its terms of reference.
Commissioner Margaret McMurdo noted that delays in the provision of material have hampered the Commission’s progress but that she remained optimistic going forward.
‘I remain cautiously optimistic that the difficulties encountered to date will lessen as the inquiry continues, particularly with the development of a protocol between the Commission, Victoria Police and the State of Victoria to deal with ongoing public interest immunity claims.’
As at 19 June 2019, the Commission has held 22 days of hearings and examined 32 witnesses. Evidence to date has focused on Nicola Gobbo’s contact with Victoria Police between 1993 and 2004.
The Commission has received 131 submissions from members of the public and contacted over 130 individuals and agencies with expertise in policy and practices relevant to its terms of reference. It has issued 374 Notices to Produce and requests for information, resulting in the production of over 58,000 documents.
Fifteen submissions are now available on the Commission’s website. The submissions cover policy-related issues including the conduct of Victoria Police, the use and management of human sources, evidence obtained from human sources in the criminal justice system, and legal professional ethics and regulation.
Remaining submissions, including many from people who claim to have been affected by Ms Gobbo’s conduct, await publication while the Commission considers their treatment.
‘While the Commission’s preference is to make submissions available to the public, there are several reasons why the Commission may choose not to publish a submission. These include the author's preference for the treatment of their submission, the need to protect the safety of the author or other individuals, and legal restrictions including client legal privilege, public interest immunity, defamation and suppression orders’, said Commissioner McMurdo, ‘Where appropriate, the Commission will publish additional submissions as soon as possible.’
The Commissioner also urged anyone who believes they may have been affected by Nicola Gobbo’s conduct to contact the Commission straight away.
‘The Commission is continuing to work hard to obtain all information necessary to review potentially affected cases and urges anyone who believes they may have been affected by Ms Gobbo’s conduct to contact the Commission by 31 July 2019. If the Commission does not receive all relevant information by the end of July, it may not be possible for the Commission to assess whether a case may have been affected by Ms Gobbo’s conduct as a human source’.
Public hearings continue.
Reviewed 13 October 2019