RCMPI

Introduction

Commissioner’s foreword

In December 2018, the High Court of Australia published its judgement upholding the decisions of Victorian courts to allow the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to disclose to a group of convicted people that defence barrister, Ms Nicola Gobbo, had been a human source. The Court stated:

[Ms Gobbo’s] actions in purporting to act as counsel for the Convicted Persons while covertly informing against them were fundamental and appalling breaches of [her] obligations as counsel to her clients and of [her] duties to the court. Likewise, Victoria Police were guilty of reprehensible conduct in knowingly encouraging [her] to do as she did and were involved in sanctioning atrocious breaches of the sworn duty of every police officer to discharge all duties imposed on them faithfully and according to law.

On 13 December 2018, the Victorian Government established this Royal Commission to inquire into and report on cases that may have been affected by Ms Gobbo’s conduct as a human source; the conduct of Victoria Police officers in their use of her as a human source; the adequacy of current processes for the management of human sources with legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege; and the use and disclosure of information from such human sources in the criminal justice system.

In the foreword to the Commission’s progress report, I described this task as mammoth in scale and Janus-like in its need to look both to the past and to the future. That description was apt.

The Commission examined events dating back to 1993; received 157 public submissions and 280 witness statements; issued 433 notices to produce and 238 formal requests for information resulting in the production of over 155,000 documents; held 129 days of mostly public hearings; examined 82 witnesses; tendered 1,957 exhibits; and consulted with 97 individuals and organisations. It received a further 45 submissions in response to the closing submissions of Counsel Assisting.

I was greatly assisted by a fine legal team of Counsel Assisting and Solicitors Assisting; a wonderful Chief Executive Officer and lawyer, Ms Kylie Kilgour; and the Commission’s hard-working and talented policy and research, investigations, operations, enquiries, and media and communications teams. The names of the many valued individuals and organisations who contributed to the Commission’s work are listed in Appendix H. I sincerely thank every one of them.

I thank the Fair Work Commission for the use of its premises to conduct hearings, and the Victorian courts for providing the Commission with material essential to the inquiry and prioritising the suppression order proceedings that aided the Commission’s public reporting and other work.

The Victorian media played a critical role in this inquiry. It conscientiously complied with the many complex non-publication orders, appreciating that any slip could endanger lives. In the interests of the public, it rightly tested Victoria Police’s applications to close hearings and for suppression orders. Importantly, its reporting of the hearings increased community awareness of the Commission’s work and helped restore public confidence in the criminal justice system.

I am also grateful to the Victoria Police officers who assisted the Commission, especially those who shared their experience and insight in the Commission’s focus groups. My thanks, too, to the former Chief Constable of Merseyside Police, Professor Sir Jonathan Murphy, QPM, DL, for generously sharing his expertise and giving evidence remotely from the United Kingdom, and to the many organisations and experts who shared their knowledge in consultations with the Commission.

On 24 August 2020, 18 months after the High Court’s scathing criticism and the Commission’s establishment, Victoria Police stated for the first time that it:

…accepts without qualification or reservation, that permitting Ms Gobbo…to give information to Victoria Police about her own clients…is reprehensible. It was an indefensible interference in the lawyer/client relationship…essential to the proper functioning of the justice system and to the rule of law. Victoria Police’s failure at the time to ensure that these circumstances were identified and disclosed was also a profound failure.

I welcome Victoria Police’s belated apology for the serious harm caused by its use of Ms Gobbo.

In their complete and unredacted closing submissions, Counsel Assisting invited me to find that Ms Gobbo and named current and former officers may have committed criminal offences. For reasons explained fully elsewhere, I declined to do this. I have found, however, after considering the responsive submissions of Ms Gobbo, those current and former officers, and Victoria Police, that there is sufficient merit in Counsel Assisting’s contentions to warrant further investigation to determine whether to bring criminal charges. I have therefore recommended legislation to establish an independent Special Investigator to undertake this task.

If the Special Investigator assembles sufficient admissible evidence to support criminal charges, they will prepare a brief for the Victorian DPP to determine whether it is in the public interest to prosecute. Even if there is sufficient evidence to bring charges, the DPP’s decision may be difficult. These events occurred long ago. Records may be incomplete and memories may have faded. Ms Gobbo was encouraged in her behaviour by police and now lives in fear of being murdered. The current and former officers acted within what Victoria Police accepts was a failed system and many, perhaps all have had otherwise exemplary careers serving the public good.

If the DPP determines that it is in the public interest to prosecute, those charged will receive a fair trial according to law, unlike those whose trials were corrupted by their conduct.

Taking a broad approach, the Commission has identified 1,011 individuals with convictions or findings of guilt that may have been affected by the conduct of Ms Gobbo and Victoria Police. That is not to say that all these convictions will be overturned on appeal, but at least these individuals are now aware of the relevant facts and can obtain legal advice to make an informed decision about whether to pursue any appeal rights.

The deception of Ms Gobbo and Victoria Police meant that for many years, their improper conduct was hidden. With the future investigation of those responsible, and the appeals of those who failed to receive a fair trial because of this conduct, Victorians can now be assured that their criminal justice system is working as it should.

I recognise that most current Victoria Police officers would not countenance an end-justifies-means approach to criminal investigations. I also recognise that human sources are a valuable tool in detecting and investigating crime. But a robust system of checks and balances is needed to support the ethical management of human sources and prevent improper use of confidential or privileged information.

The Commission has recommended practical, evidence-based reforms to strengthen human source management processes, establish independent oversight and reinforce police disclosure obligations. Together, these recommendations aim to strengthen police practices and the operation of the criminal justice system so that the events that led to this inquiry can never happen again.

In striving for that goal, I welcome the Premier of Victoria’s statement of the Government’s intention to implement all of the Commission’s recommendations, and the commitment of the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police to heed those recommendations and take whatever steps necessary for Victoria Police to learn from its mistakes.


Terms of reference

The Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants is appointed to inquire into and report on:

  1. The number of, and extent to which, cases may have been affected by the conduct of [Ms Nicola Gobbo] as a human source.
  2. The conduct of current and former members of Victoria Police in their disclosures about and recruitment, handling and management of [Ms Gobbo] as a human source.
  3. The current adequacy and effectiveness of Victoria Police’s processes for the recruitment, handling and management of human sources who are subject to legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege, including:
    1. whether Victoria Police’s practices continue to comply with the recommendations of the Kellam report
    2. whether the current practices of Victoria Police in relation to such sources are otherwise appropriate.
  4. The current use of human source information in the criminal justice system from human sources who are subject to legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege, subject to section 123 of the Inquiries Act 2014, including:
    1. the appropriateness of Victoria Police’s practices around the disclosure or non-disclosure of the use of such human sources to prosecuting authorities
    2. whether there are adequate safeguards in the way in which Victoria Police prosecutes summary cases, and the Office of Public Prosecutions prosecutes indictable matters on behalf of the Director of Public Prosecutions, when the investigation has involved human source material.
  5. Recommended measures that may be taken to address:
    1. the use of any other human sources who are, or have been, subject to legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege and who come to your attention during the course of your inquiry
    2. any systemic or other failures in Victoria Police’s processes for its disclosures about and recruitment, handling and management of human sources who are subject to legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege, and in the use of such human source information in the broader criminal justice system, including how those failures may be avoided in future.
  6. Any other matters necessary to satisfactorily resolve the matters set out in paragraphs 1–5.


Acronyms

ACIC

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission

AFP

Australian Federal Police

AOR

Acknowledgement of Responsibilities

ASCR

Australian Solicitors’ Conduct Rules 2015

ASIO

Australian Security Intelligence Organisation

CaRMU

Compliance and Risk Management Unit, Victoria Police

CDPP

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

CMRD

Corporate Management Review Division, Victoria Police

CPD

continuing professional development

CPS

Crown Prosecution Service, United Kingdom

CSR

Central Source Registrar, Victoria Police

DEA

Drug Enforcement Administration, United States of America

DJCS

Department of Justice and Community Safety, Victoria

DPP

Director of Public Prosecutions, Victoria

DSG-A

District Support Group ‘A’, Victoria Police

DST

Dedicated Source Team

DSU

Dedicated Source Unit, Victoria Police

ESD

Ethical Standards Department, Victoria Police

HSMU

Human Source Management Unit, Victoria Police

IBAC

Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission, Victoria

ICT

Information and Communication Technology

ICR

Informer Contact Report

ICSC

Intelligence and Covert Support Command, Victoria Police

IGIS

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security, Australia

IPCO

Investigatory Powers Commissioner’s Office, United Kingdom

IR

Information Report

LEAP

Law Enforcement Assistance Program, Victoria Police

LSR

Local Source Registrar, Victoria Police

MDID

Major Drug Investigation Division, Victoria Police

NCA

National Crime Authority, Australia

NDIP

National Disclosure Improvement Plan, United Kingdom

OCE

Office of the Chief Examiner, Victoria

OIC

Officer in Charge, Victoria Police

OLSC

Office of the Legal Services Commissioner, New South Wales

OPI

Office of Police Integrity, Victoria

OPP

Office of Public Prosecutions, Victoria

PAB

Police Advisory Branch, Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office

PII

public interest immunity

PIM

Public Interest Monitor, Victoria

RCMP

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

RIPA

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (UK)

SCR

Source Contact Report

SDU

Source Development Unit, Victoria Police

SML

Source Management Log

SRA

Solicitors Regulation Authority, United Kingdom

SWOT

strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats

TPA

The Police Association of Victoria

VEOHRC

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission

VGSO

Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office

VI

Victorian Inspectorate

VLAB

Victorian Legal Admissions Board

VLAC

Victorian Legal Admissions Committee

VLRC

Victorian Law Reform Commission

VLSB+C

Victorian Legal Services Board and Commissioner


Glossary

Accused person

A person who has been charged with a criminal offence but is yet to be found guilty or not guilty of that offence. An accused person is also referred to as a defendant in court proceedings.

Acquittal

A judgement by a court that a person is not guilty of a crime with which they have been charged.

Affidavit

A written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation that may be used as a substitute for oral evidence in court.

Amicus curiae

A lawyer who is appointed to assist the court, known as a ‘friend of the court’. They may advise the court on a point of law or on a manner of practice, or when a public interest immunity claim is heard ex parte.

Appeal

A review of a court or tribunal’s decision by a higher court.

Bail

A procedure that allows a person who has been charged with an offence to be released from police control or prison until the hearing of the case.

Barrister

A type of lawyer. Barristers tend to specialise in representing people in court and may give specialist legal advice on complex legal matters. A barrister generally receives instructions from their client (that is, the person they are representing) through a solicitor.

Barristers and solicitors are often collectively referred to as ‘lawyers’.

Brief of evidence

A collection of documents such as witness statements and photographs gathered by the police that the prosecution will use as evidence at a court hearing to prove a criminal charge.

‘Can say’ statement

An unsigned statement given by an accused person (or a person about to charged with an offence) to police outlining the evidence they will be able to give regarding their offence or other offences. A ‘can say’ statement is provided by a person seeking an indemnity or a reduction in penalty.

Civil proceeding

A legal dispute progressing through the courts that is not related to a criminal matter; for example, a personal injury dispute, defamation claim or property dispute.

Client legal privilege

The statutory form of legal professional privilege under the Evidence Act 2008(Vic).

Committal proceeding

An initial hearing held in the Magistrates’ Court to decide whether there is sufficient evidence against an accused person charged with a serious criminal offence for them to be tried in a higher court.

Common law

Law that derives its authority from decisions of the courts rather than from legislation. Also known as ‘case law’.

Conference

A meeting between a person and their barrister to discuss legal matters.

Controlled operation

A police operation that allows police officers or civilians to engage in activity that may otherwise be unlawful, for the purpose of obtaining evidence that may lead to the prosecution of a person for a crime.

Conviction

A formal declaration by a court that a person is guilty of a criminal offence. Convictions appear on a person’s criminal record.

Covert policing

Secret methods or techniques used by police without the person of interest being aware that information about them is being collected.

The use of human sources is one example of covert policing. Other methods include covert recording or surveillance, undercover policing and controlled operations. Covert methods are often used by police in circumstances where information or evidence is difficult to obtain through conventional or ‘overt’ policing methods, such as property search warrants or interviews.

Covert search warrant

A search warrant that permits a secret search of a location. Generally, these need to be approved by a court.

Criminal proceeding

The process of criminal charges being brought against an accused person (also known as the defendant) before a court, from the first court appearance to the final decision.

Disclosure

A process in court proceedings where each party is required to disclose any documents that may be considered relevant to the court case.

In criminal proceedings, the prosecution (including police) has a duty to disclose all evidence that is relevant to the case against an accused person, even if that evidence might undermine the prosecution’s case or help the accused person.

Executive Command

A senior executive group within Victoria Police responsible for setting the strategic direction of Victoria Police, monitoring organisational performance, determining key priorities and risks, and managing organisational capacity and capability.

The Chief Commissioner is the head of the Executive Command group, which also comprises the four Deputy Commissioners and senior public servants.

Ex parte hearing

A hearing where one party (a person or organisation) involved in a court case is not present and has not been given notice of the court proceedings.

Human source

An individual who covertly supplies information to police about crime or people involved in criminal activity, usually with an expectation that their identity will be kept confidential.

Generally, human sources can be distinguished from other people who might provide information to police; for example, witnesses to an accident or victims of crime.

A human source is often referred to as a police ‘informer’ or ‘informant’.

Indictable offence

A more serious criminal offence where the person charged has the right to have their case heard by a judge or jury in the County Court of Victoria or Supreme Court of Victoria.

The ‘indictment’ is the formal charge before the court.

Indictable proceeding

A court proceeding about indictable offences.

Informant

The person who commences a criminal proceeding against an accused person. They are usually a police officer or government official, and are generally responsible for charging a person and giving evidence against the person in court.

Human sources are sometimes referred to as police ‘informants’ or ‘informers’. To avoid confusion, this report generally does not use these terms when referring to human sources.

Law enforcement agency

An agency responsible for enforcing the law; for example, Victoria Police, the Australian Federal Police and the Australian Crime and Intelligence Commission.

Lawyer

A person who has studied law, completed practical legal training and been admitted to legal practice. A lawyer can advise a person about the law and represent them in court.

Both solicitors and barristers are referred to as ‘lawyers’.

Leave to appear

Permission granted by a royal commission to allow a person to appear before or otherwise participate in the inquiry, under theInquiries Act 2014(Vic).

Legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege

Duties imposed on people entrusted with confidential or privileged information to protect the information, and not to disclose or distribute it. For example, lawyers are subject to legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege in relation to information their clients provide them, and doctors are subject to legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege in relation to information their patients provide them.

Legal professional privilege

A common law right that protects the disclosure of certain communications between a lawyer and a client when those communications are for the purpose of obtaining legal advice or for use in legal proceedings. The statutory form of legal professional privilege is ‘client legal privilege’.

Legislation

Written law made by Parliament. Also known as ‘statutory law’ or ‘statute’.

Letters Patent

The document issued by the Governor of Victoria that formally establishes a royal commission, under the Inquiries Act 2014 (Vic).

Miscarriage of justice

Where an accused person is wrongfully convicted of an offence they did not commit, or where they have not received a fair trial due to rules of procedure and evidence not being followed.

Non-parole period

The minimum part of the term of imprisonment a convicted person must serve in prison before they are released on parole to complete their sentence in the community. A non-parole period is set by a magistrate or judge when an accused person is sentenced.

Non-publication order

An order that prohibits or restricts the publication of information.

Notice to attend

A written notice served on a person requiring them to attend a royal commission at a specified time and place to either produce a specified document or give evidence, under the Inquiries Act 2014 (Vic).

Notice to produce

A written notice served on a person requiring them to produce a specified document or other thing to a royal commission before a specified time and in a specified manner, under the Inquiries Act 2014 (Vic).

Oversight agency

An agency responsible for independent scrutiny and protection of the integrity of the public sector and police; for example, the Independent Broad-based Anti‑corruption Commission, Public Interest Monitor and Victorian Inspectorate.

Parole

The temporary or permanent release of a prisoner before the end of the term of imprisonment under their sentence, to allow the prisoner to serve part of their sentence in the community under supervision and subject to certain conditions on their freedoms.

Petition for mercy

A request by a person convicted of an indictable offence or found not guilty by reason of mental impairment to the Attorney-General, to have their case heard when other avenues of appeal have been exhausted.

Under the Criminal Procedure Act 2009(Vic), the Attorney-General can refer a person’s case to the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria for determination or refer a question about the petition to the Supreme Court Trial Division for advice.

Plea agreement

An agreement between the prosecution and an accused person about conditions under which the accused person will plead guilty; for example, a plea agreement might include a condition that the accused person will not be charged for other offences.

Plea hearing

A hearing that occurs if an accused person pleads guilty. It provides an opportunity for the prosecution, defence and victim to present information that they want the judge to take into account when deciding on the accused person’s sentence.

Police misconduct

Conduct that constitutes an offence punishable by imprisonment; is likely to bring Victoria Police into disrepute or diminish public confidence in it; or is disgraceful or improper, under the Victoria Police Act 2013(Vic).

Police officer

A member of Victoria Police who has taken an oath or made an affirmation to, among other things, discharge all the duties legally imposed on them faithfully and according to law.

This report generally uses the term ‘police officer’ rather than ‘police member’.

Potentially affected person

A person, convicted of a criminal offence, whose case the Commission assessed and then determined may have been affected by Victoria Police’s use of Ms Nicola Gobbo as a human source.

Prosecuting authority

An agency responsible for conducting criminal matters in court on behalf of the State.

Public interest immunity

A rule of evidence used in court proceedings or inquiries where the State seeks to withhold relevant information on the basis that production of that information would be contrary to the public interest.

The identity of human sources and information that might reveal covert police methods are typically protected by public interest immunity, because of the need to keep the information confidential. The information will not be protected by public interest immunity if the court determines that there is a greater public interest in disclosing it.

Quash

A decision of a court to discharge or set aside a decision previously made by a court.

Rank

The level of a police officer’s position within an organisation, defining their authority and responsibility.

Victoria Police ranks, in order of seniority, are: Constable; First Constable; Senior Constable; Leading Senior Constable; Sergeant; Senior Sergeant; Inspector; Superintendent; Commander; Assistant Commissioner; Deputy Commissioner and Chief Commissioner.

Remand

An order that an accused person be kept in police custody or imprisoned until they go to court for a hearing.

Sentence

The penalty (or punishment) issued by a magistrate or judge when a person has been convicted or found guilty of a criminal offence.

Solicitor

A type of lawyer. Solicitors provide legal advice to individuals and organisations and will sometimes instruct a barrister to assist with representing their clients in court or to provide advice on complex legal issues.

Solicitors and barristers are often collectively referred to as ‘lawyers’.

Statutory law

Written law made by Parliament. Also known as ‘legislation’ or ‘statute’.

Stay (a proceeding)

A decision by a court to temporarily or indefinitely stop a court proceeding.

Subpoena

A legal document issued by the court at the request of a party to a case, which compels a person or entity to produce documents to a court or compels a person to attend court and give evidence at a hearing or trial. It is sometimes also referred to as a ‘summons’.

Summary offence

A less serious criminal offence generally heard in the Magistrates’ Court by a magistrate.

Summary proceeding

A court proceeding about a summary offence in the Magistrates’ Court.

Suppression order

An order that prohibits or restricts the disclosure of information.

Surveillance devices

Any instruments, apparatus or equipment used for the purposes of monitoring or tracking an individual or group of people subject to surveillance. Generally, the use of such devices by police requires a warrant issued by a court.

Telephone intercepts

Covert listening and recording of communications passing over a telecommunications network, such as telephone conversations or text messages. Generally, police need a warrant issued by a court to intercept telecommunications.

Terms of reference

A statement setting out the purpose and scope of an inquiry. A royal commission’s terms of reference are set out in its Letters Patent.


Summary of human source management terms and processes

In several parts of this final report, the Commission discusses how Victoria Police uses and manages human sources.

The key terms, processes, roles and responsibilities related to Victoria Police’s current use and management of human sources are set out below. Some of these are broadly similar to those that existed when Victoria Police registered and used Ms Nicola Gobbo as a human source for the third time between 2005 and 2009; for example, the requirement to appoint a police ‘handler’ to manage day-to-day interactions with a human source. Others have changed since then; for example, the governance and decision-making processes applicable to the use of certain human sources, such as lawyers.

Where arrangements have changed substantially over time, this is indicated below.

Types of human sources

Human sources are people who covertly supply information about a crime or people involved in criminal activity to police or other law enforcement agencies, generally on an ongoing basis, with the expectation that their identity will be protected. This distinguishes them from other people who provide information to law enforcement agencies; for example, victims of crime or witnesses.

Human sources are sometimes also referred to as police ‘informants’ or ‘informers’. These terms are not used to describe human sources in this final report, in part to avoid confusion with police officer informants who commence a criminal proceeding against an accused person.

The Commission uses the following terms to refer to different types of human sources:

  • Human sources with legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege—people who covertly supply information about a crime or people involved in criminal activity to police and are also subject to legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege as a result of their occupations (for example, lawyers or doctors).
  • Human sources involving legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege—people who covertly supply information about a crime or people involved in criminal activity to police, and either hold legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege themselves; or do not hold those obligations themselves but have access to information that may be confidential or privileged (for example, the spouse of a lawyer or receptionist working in a medical clinic).
  • High-risk human sources—human sources who are considered ‘high risk’ based on a risk assessment conducted by Victoria Police. Factors that might increase a person’s risk include them having a violent criminal history, a high likelihood of coming to personal harm or death should their informing become known, or legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege.
  • Community sources—human sources whose role is typically confined to providing general information acquired during their daily activities and whom the police cannot ‘task’ to actively gather information. In May 2020, Victoria Police stopped using this term and broadened its general definition of human source to cover these types of sources.
  • Prospective human sources—people being assessed or considered by Victoria Police as to whether they will be registered as a human source. Victoria Police policy requires that all human sources be registered.

Key elements of human source management

Figure A displays the key elements of Victoria Police’s human source management framework. These elements are broadly similar to those that operate in other jurisdictions.

While specific requirements have changed over time, the overarching elements that operate now are consistent with those that existed when Victoria Police used Ms Gobbo as a human source in 2005–09.

Figure A: Common elements of human source management
Figure A- Common elements of human source management

Assess

Prior to using a human source, police officers must assess the risks and the appropriateness of using that person as a source. Officers do this by completing a:

  • Risk assessment—the process of identifying and assessing risks and any steps that can be taken to reduce identified risks, whether to the source, Victoria Police, its officers or others. Officers use a form to record information about the prospective human source and this information is assessed to determine a risk rating (for example, ‘low risk’, ‘medium risk’ or ‘high risk’).

Register

Registration refers to the process whereby the use of a person as a human source is authorised. A police officer must first prepare a registration application, which is then reviewed by more senior officers. The application must include a risk assessment, mentioned above, along with an:

  • Acknowledgement of Responsibilities (AOR)formal acknowledgement by the human source that they are to be registered as a source and the conditions of their registration (for example, the AOR might state that the source is not to engage in criminal activity).

Manage

The management phase involves police meeting and engaging with the human source, gathering information from them and making records of their interactions.

In managing a human source, police should conduct ongoing reviews to monitor any changes to the risks of using the source and/or identify any new risks that may have arisen.

Key terms associated with the day-to-day management of human sources are:

  • Human source information—information that is supplied to police by a human source about a person or organisation associated with alleged criminal activity.
  • Source Contact Report (SCR)—a report that details all relevant information about any contact with a human source, whether by phone, face-to-face or other means. A SCR was previously called an Informer Contact Report (ICR). A report should contain a detailed account of the meeting and any other information to be disseminated to investigators.
  • Source Management Log (SML)a record of the day-to-day management of a human source detailing all relevant information; specifically, information provided by the source, references to Source Contact Reports and Information Reports, any risks that have arisen in the management of the source and any information disseminated to investigators.
  • Sterile corridor—the practice whereby the police officers responsible for managing the human source (handling team) are not the same officers who are conducting investigations that may rely on information that the human source has provided. Officers in the handling team ‘sanitise’ (de-identify) information provided by the human source before disseminating the information to investigators. The main purpose of the sterile corridor is to protect the safety of the human source, by minimising the number of people aware of their identity and/or existence.
  • Tasking—an assignment or instruction given to a human source by police, in order to gather intelligence about criminal activity. If tasking involves conduct that could be criminal, authority must be first be obtained under the Crimes (Controlled Operations) Act 2004(Vic).

Share

The sharing of human source information by the handling team to investigating teams occurs through an:

  • Information report (IR)a short summary of information gathered by police. In the case of human source management, an IR is generated from information in a Source Contact Report, which is sanitised to remove or reduce any detail that might enable someone to ascertain the identity and/or existence of the human source.

Deactivate

Police officers may deactivate a human source when there is no further operational need for the source or if they are to be transitioned to the role of a witness in the prosecution of a criminal offence.

Victoria Police human source policy

Victoria Police has produced internal guidance for officers about the use of human sources since 1986. It issued the first comprehensive organisation-wide policy in 2003.

The current policy is:

  • Victoria Police ManualHuman Sources (Human Source Policy)—a document that sets out requirements for risk assessment, registration, management and deactivation of human sources. It also sets out the roles and responsibilities of those involved in the use and management of human sources and outlines other requirements; for example, relating to record keeping and approval of payments to human sources.

For most of the Commission’s inquiry, from December 2018 to May 2020, the Human Source Policy in force was the May 2018 version. A new policy dated 15 April 2020 came into force on 4 May 2020.

Human source management roles and responsibilities

As shown in Figure B, the governance and decision-making structure in Victoria Police’s human source management framework is multi-levelled and consists of:

  • handling teams
  • centralised internal oversight
  • governance by senior officers and committees.

Figure B and the information in this section represent Victoria Police’s current governance arrangements, roles and responsibilities, but these are broadly consistent with those that existed when Ms Gobbo was used as a human source from 2005–09. There are some key differences, however—for example, the Human Source Ethics Committee was only introduced in 2014.

Figure B: Human source governance structure, Victoria Police

Figure B- Human source governance structure, Victoria Police

Handling teams

handling team is a team of police officers responsible for the handling and management of a human source. Handling teams may be ‘dedicated’ or ‘non-dedicated’:

  • Dedicated source team (DST)—a team of police officers who are dedicated to and specialise in managing human sources. These teams may also focus on recruitment and development of new sources.
  • Non-dedicated handling team—a team of police officers who manage human sources but also have other policing duties, such as investigating crime.

In either case, a handling team is made up of the following police officers, listed here in ascending order of seniority:

  • Handleran officer who acts as the primary point of contact for a human source.They are also responsible for applying to register a prospective human source, keeping and maintaining the records associated with the source’s registration and notifying senior officers of issues and risks that may arise in managing the source.
  • Co-handler—an officer who assists the handler and acts as the primary point of contact for a human source if the primary handler is unavailable.
  • Controlleran officer generally at the rank of Sergeant or above, who directly supervises the handler and co-handler. They monitor and review human source files to ensure compliance with policy requirements, such as the completion of risk assessments, documentation of contacts with the human source, and requests for deactivation. A controller also provides guidance to the handler and co-handler and is responsible for knowing how, where and when handlers are meeting with human sources.
  • Officer in Charge (OIC)an officer generally at the rank of Senior Sergeant or Inspector, who has responsibility for managing the officers in the handling team (except the Local Source Registrar). They review registration applications and provide oversight and advice.
  • Local Source Registrar (LSR)a Superintendent who heads a divisional command and who has responsibility for oversight of handling teams in their division. LSRs were previously known as Local Informer Registrars. The LSR endorses, rejects or makes recommendations in relation to proposed actions or applications, such as registering or deactivating a human source. In doing so, they are required to review and evaluate the risk assessments and mitigation strategies and ensure that required documentation is uploaded to the electronic investigation and intelligence management system, Interpose, within specified timeframes.

During Ms Gobbo’s third registration as a human source in 2005–09, she was handled by the Source Development Unit (SDU) and its predecessor, the Dedicated Source Unit (DSU). Both units consisted of specially trained handlers and controllers.

Centralised internal oversight

Centralised internal oversight is a governance model where one section of an organisation is responsible for setting standards and overseeing a certain function. In Victoria Police’s human source management framework, this is performed by the:

  • Central Source Registrar (CSR)the Detective Superintendent, Covert Services Division. The CSR has oversight of all human source registrations and activity and has final decision-making authority if a disagreement about the handling and management of individual human sources arises.
  • Human Source Management Unit (HSMU)a unit within the Covert Services Division that:
    • oversees all human source activity to ensure compliance with the Human Source Policy requirements
    • provides advice and support to handling teams
    • coordinates and provides human source management training.

The Covert Services Division is one of the six divisions that form Victoria Police’s Intelligence and Covert Support Command.

Broadly, these roles and functions have existed in Victoria Police’s human source management framework since 2007; however, prior to 2006, the HSMU’s role was performed by the then Informer Management Unit and, prior to 2007, the CSR was called the Central Informer Registrar.

Governance and final registration

Under its current Human Source Policy, and as shown in Figure B, Victoria Police’s internal governance and decision-making structure for human source management is carried out by the:

  • Human Source Ethics Committee—an internal Victoria Police committee, established in 2014 and chaired by the Assistant Commissioner, Intelligence and Covert Support Command, that provides governance and approves the registration of certain human sources, including those involving legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege.
  • Assistant Commissioner, Intelligence and Covert Support Command—the officer who oversees all human source management across the organisation and is responsible for the Human Source Policy.
  • Deputy Commissioner, Specialist Operations—the officer who is responsible for the promotion and implementation of the Human Source Policy. Since May 2020, the Deputy Commissioner has been responsible for approving: (a) any registration of a human source where it is intended to obtain legally confidential or privileged information; and (b) any proposed use of information that appears to be in breach of a human source’s legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege.
  • Human Source Advisory Committee—an internal Victoria Police committee, chaired by the Central Source Registrar, that provides strategic advice, feedback and guidance in the management of human sources. It is the conduit between Victoria Police regions and commands that manage human sources, the Central Source Registrar and the Human Source Management Unit.
  • Human Source Rewards Committee—an internal Victoria Police committee, chaired by the Assistant Commissioner, Intelligence and Covert Support Command, that manages and approves the payment of cash or any benefit to a human source as a reward for information given to Victoria Police.

As this governance structure has only existed since 2014, not all these arrangements were in place in 2005–09 when Ms Gobbo was registered as a human source. Victoria Police’s human source program did, however, report through a chain of command to an Assistant Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner. There were also similar committees to the Human Source Rewards Committee that were responsible for approving payments to human sources, including one called the Payments Committee.


List of key police taskforces and operations

Briars Taskforce

The Briars Taskforce was established in 2007 as a joint taskforce between Victoria Police and the Office of Police Integrity. It was established after Mr Gregory (a pseudonym) made several statements alleging police corruption regarding the 2003 murder of Mr Shane Chartres-Abbott. The Briars Taskforce Board of Management initially included Victoria Police officers Mr Simon Overland, Mr Thomas (Luke) Cornelius, and Assistant Director (later Deputy Director) of the Office of Police Integrity, Mr Graham Ashton. Key investigators were Mr Rodney (Rod) Wilson, Mr Stephen (Steve) Waddell and Mr Ronald (Ron) Iddles.

Ceja Taskforce

The Ceja Taskforce was established by Victoria Police in 2002 as part of the Ethical Standards Department. It was the successor to Operation Hemi and was tasked to investigate allegations of criminality against Victoria Police Drug Squad officers, including Mr Wayne Strawhorn. Mr Peter De Santo was a key investigator transferred from Operation Hemi to Ceja Taskforce.

Driver Taskforce

The Driver Taskforce was established by Victoria Police in 2010 to investigate the circumstances surrounding the murder of Mr Carl Williams. The Driver Taskforce Steering Committee included Victoria Police officers Sir Kenneth (Ken) Jones, Mr Dannye Moloney, Mr Graham Ashton, Mr Jeffrey (Jeff) Pope, Mr Emmett Dunne, Mr Doug Fryer and Mr Michael (Mick) Frewen.

Taskforce Kayak

Taskforce Kayak was established by Victoria Police in 2000. Its most prominent investigation was Operation 1 (a pseudonym). Key investigators included Mr Paul Firth, Mr David Bartlett, Mr David Miechel, Mr Stephen (Steve) Paton, Mr Martin Allison, Mr Malcolm Rosenes, Mr Wayne Strawhorn and Police Officer 1 (a pseudonym).

Taskforce Landow

Taskforce Landow was established by Victoria Police in 2018 to assist the work of the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants.

Lorimer Taskforce

The Lorimer Taskforce was established by Victoria Police in 1998 to investigate the murders of Sergeant Gary Silk and Senior Constable Rod Miller. Investigators connected to the Lorimer Taskforce that are relevant to this inquiry included Mr Paul Sheridan, Officer Black (a pseudonym) and Mr Paul Dale.

Petra Taskforce

The Petra Taskforce was established by Victoria Police and the Office of Police Integrity in 2007 to investigate the murders of Mr Terrence (Terry) and Mrs Christine Hodson. The Petra Taskforce Board of Management initially included Victoria Police officers Mr Simon Overland, Mr Thomas (Luke) Cornelius, Mr Gavan Ryan and the Assistant Director (later Deputy Director) of the Office of Police Integrity, Mr Graham Ashton. Key Victoria Police investigators included Mr Shane O’Connell, Mr Solon (Sol) Solomon, Mr Gavan Ryan, Mr Steven (Steve) Smith and Mr Cameron Davey.

Purana Taskforce

The Purana Taskforce was established by Victoria Police in 2003 to investigate the Melbourne ‘gangland’ murders. It was overseen by an executive management team that initially included Mr Simon Overland, Mr Terry Purton, Mr John Whitmore and Mr Andrew Allen. Key investigators included Mr Stuart Bateson, Mr Mark Hatt, Mr Dale Flynn, Mr Jason Kelly, Mr Gavan Ryan and Mr James (Jim) O’Brien.

Operation 1 (a pseudonym)

Operation 1 was established by Victoria Police in 2000 as part of the Kayak Taskforce and targeted drug importation, manufacture and trafficking. The major target of this operation was Mr Antonios (Tony) Mokbel. Mr Luxmore (a pseudonym) and Mr Joseph Parisi were ultimately convicted as a result of Operation 1. Charges laid against Mr Tony Mokbel, Mr Milad Mokbel and Mr Rabie (Rob) Karam were later withdrawn.

Operation Bendigo

Operation Bendigo was established by Victoria Police in 2014. Its terms of reference included overseeing the protection and management of Ms Nicola Gobbo and overseeing Victoria Police’s implementation of recommendations made by several reviews of Ms Gobbo’s use as a human source. Operation Bendigo investigated five cases of potential legal conflict that arose from the use of Ms Gobbo as a human source and that may have resulted in miscarriages of justice.

Operation Bootham Moko

Operation Bootham Moko was established by the Australian Federal Police in 2007 to target the importation of MDMA. The shipment commonly referred to as the ‘Tomato Tins’ importation was seized under Operation Bootham Moko. Mr Rabie (Rob) Karam, Mr Saverio Zirilli, Mr Pasquale Barbaro, Mr John Higgs, Mr Salvatore Agresta, Mr Pasquale John Sergi, Mr Jan Visser and Mr Carmelo Falanga were ultimately convicted as a result of the operation.

Operation Clarendon

Operation Clarendon was established by Victoria Police in 2002 to assess and investigate information provided by former police officer and barrister Mr Kerry Milte regarding organised crime. In 2008, the Office of Police Integrity produced a report on Operation Clarendon, which identified significant deficiencies in Victoria Police’s human source management policies and procedures.

Operation Clonk

Operation Clonk was established by Victoria Police in 2003 to investigate the murder of Mr Shane Chartres-Abbott. Operation Clonk was conducted by the Homicide Squad until the establishment of the Briars Taskforce in 2007.

Operation Diana

Operation Diana was established by the Office of Police Integrity in 2007. It was tasked with investigating alleged unauthorised communication of confidential information by Victoria Police officer Mr Noel Ashby regarding the Briars Taskforce and alleged improper associations between Mr Ashby and others. Mr Ashby and The Police Association Secretary, Mr Paul Mullett, were charged in 2008 with offences arising out of Operation Diana. The criminal charges were ultimately resolved by way of a combination of discharge, discontinuance and acquittal.

Operation Galop

Operation Galop was established by the Victoria Police Major Drug Investigation Division in 2003, to investigate the commercial drug manufacturing and trafficking of ecstasy tablets at a house located in Dublin Street, Oakleigh. The investigation targeted Mr Azzam (Adam) Ahmed, Ms Colleen O’Reilly, Ms Abbey Haynes and others who were ultimately charged. The investigative team was led by then Victoria Police officer Mr Paul Dale and included Mr David Miechel.

Operation Gosford

Operation Gosford was established by Victoria Police in 2007 to investigate threats made against Ms Gobbo. The investigation was conducted by Purana Taskforce officers, including Mr Paul Rowe, Mr Craig Hayes and Mr Dale Flynn.

Operation Hemi

Operation Hemi was established by Victoria Police’s Ethical Standards Department in 2000 to investigate allegations of corruption. The investigation led to the arrest of Mr Stephen (Steve) Paton and Mr Malcolm Rosenes of Victoria Police’s Drug Squad. Mr Peter De Santo was a key investigator.

Operation Inca

Operation Inca was established in 2008 as a joint investigation between the Australian Federal Police, Victoria Police, the then Australian Crime Commission, Australian Customs and the Australian Taxation Office into money laundering, drug importation and trafficking after the ‘Tomato Tins’ shipment was seized. Twenty-eight people were convicted as a result of Operation Inca, including Mr Rabie (Rob) Karam, Mr Pasquale Barbaro, Mr Saverio Zirilli, Mr Francesco Madafferi, Mr Salvatore Agresta, Mr Pasquale John Sergi, Mr Giovanni Polimeni, Mr Antonio (Tony) Sergi and Ms Sharon Ropa.

Operation Khadi

Operation Khadi was established in 2006 as a joint investigation between the Victoria Police Ethical Standards Department and the Office of Police Integrity into an alleged attempt to pervert the course of justice by officers of Victoria Police’s Brighton police station, including Mr David Waters, Mr Stephen Campbell, Mr Steven Boyle and Mr Richard Shields. Key investigators were Mr Rodney (Rod) Wilson and Mr Lindsay Attrill from the Ethical Standards Department and Mr John Kapetanovski from the Office of Police Integrity.

Operation Landslip

Operation Landslip was established by Victoria Police in 2001 to investigate the manufacture of methamphetamine at a clandestine laboratory in Pascoe Vale. Operation Landslip ended when the Pascoe Vale South laboratory caught fire in 2002. Mr Cooper (a pseudonym) was ultimately convicted as a result of Operation Landslip. Mr Antonios (Tony) Mokbel and Mr Kabalan Mokbel were charged but the charges were ultimately discontinued. Key investigators included Mr Dale Flynn and Mr James (Jim) O’Brien.

Operation Loricated

Operation Loricated was established by Victoria Police in 2013 to implement Recommendation 1 of the Comrie Review. Its objective was to reconstruct and consolidate Ms Gobbo’s human source file into one place on Victoria Police’s Interpose system.

Operation Loris

Operation Loris was established in 2004 by Victoria Police. It was the initial investigation into the murder of Mr Terrence (Terry) and Mrs Christine Hodson and involved telephone intercepts targeting Mr Antonios (Tony) Mokbel, who had been identified as involved in the transmission of a police information report containing intelligence provided by Mr Hodson as a human source. Key investigators included Mr Solon (Sol) Solomon and Mr Cameron Davey.

Operation Magnum

Operation Magnum was established by Victoria Police’s Purana Taskforce in 2006 to investigate the large-scale manufacture and distribution of methylamphetamine by a criminal enterprise headed by Mr Antonios (Tony) Mokbel. It culminated in the arrest of Mr Mokbel in Athens in 2007. Sixteen people were convicted as a result of Operation Magnum, including Mr Mokbel, Mr David Tricarico, Mr Chafic Issa and Mr Elk (a pseudonym). Key investigators included Mr James (Jim) O’Brien and Mr James Coghlan.

Operation Matchless

Operation Matchless was established by the Victoria Police Major Drug Investigation Division in 2003 to investigate the manufacture of methamphetamine at a clandestine laboratory in Rye. Numerous individuals were convicted as a result of Operation Matchless, including Mr Cooper (a pseudonym), Mr Jacques El-Hage, Mr King (a pseudonym), Mr Ibrahim Kurnaz, Mr Kabalan Mokbel, Mr Milad Mokbel and Mr Noel Laurie. Charges against Mr Antonios (Tony) Mokbel under this operation were ultimately discontinued. Key investigators included Mr James (Jim) O’Brien and Mr Dale Flynn.

Operation Neon

Operation Neon was established in 2007 as a joint investigation between Victoria Police’s Briars Taskforce and the Office of Police Integrity into the murder of Mr Shane Chartres-Abbott, including the alleged involvement of then Victoria Police officers Mr David Waters and Mr Peter Lalor.

Operation Nutation

Operation Nutation was established by the Victoria Police Ethical Standards Department in 2003, in response to the unexpected conclusion of Operation Galop. It investigated the roles of then Victoria Police officers Mr Paul Dale and Mr David Miechel in the burglary of a house in Dublin Street, Oakleigh. It also involved avenues of inquiry in relation to statements made by Mr Terrence (Terry) Hodson implicating Mr Dale in the burglary.

Operation Oboe

Operation Oboe was established by the Office of Police Integrity in 2004 to investigate whether Mr Paul Dale or another Victoria Police officer was responsible for the disclosure of an information report identifying Mr Terrence (Terry) Hodson as a human source. The Office of Police Integrity identified Mr Dale as a person of interest, and communications between him and Ms Gobbo were examined by the operation. Mr Timothy (Tim) Argall was identified as the ‘go between’ for Ms Gobbo and Mr Dale.

Operation Orbital

Operation Orbital was established by the Australian Federal Police in 2005 and targeted Mr Antonios (Tony) Mokbel. Under this operation, Mr Mokbel sought to purchase MDMA powder from two undercover operatives, which was to be used in pill presses to manufacture MDMA pills. Mr Mokbel was ultimately convicted as a result of this operation.

Operation Pedal

Operation Pedal was established by Victoria Police’s Purana Taskforce in 2005 to investigate alleged money laundering offences committed by Solicitor 2 (a pseudonym). Key Victoria Police investigators included Mr Craig Wilson, Mr Stuart Bateson and Mr Gavan Ryan.

Operation Phlange (or Operation Flange)

Operation Phlange was established by the Australian Federal Police in 1995 to investigate money laundering activities of the Goldberg family. It led to the arrest of Ms Rita Goldberg, who was charged with conspiracy to defraud the Commonwealth. Ms Gobbo worked as a solicitor at the law firm that represented Ms Goldberg during the committal proceedings.

Operation Posse

Operation Posse was established by Victoria Police in 2004. It was conducted by the Purana Taskforce and concerned the manufacture of methamphetamine by the Mokbel family and associates at three clandestine laboratories. Many people were convicted as a result of this operation, including Mr Agrum (a pseudonym), Mr Cooper (a pseudonym), Mr Zlate Cvetanovski and Mr Milad Mokbel. Key investigators included Mr James (Jim) O’Brien, Mr Paul Rowe, Mr Dale Flynn, and Mr Craig Hayes.

Operation Quills

Operation Quills was established by Victoria Police’s Major Drug Investigation Division in 2005. It investigated the use of pill presses to manufacture MDMA. Mr Bickley (a pseudonym) and Mr Antonios (Tony) Mokbel were ultimately convicted as a result of this operation. Key investigators included Mr James (Jim) O’Brien, Mr Dale Flynn, Mr Steve Mansell, Mr Craig Hayes and Mr Paul Rowe.

Operation Ramsden

Operation Ramsden was established by the Victoria Police Asset Recovery Squad in 1999 to investigate alleged fraud and money laundering by Solicitor 1 (a pseudonym). Mr Jeffrey (Jeff) Pope registered Ms Gobbo as human source ‘MFG13’ as part of this operation, which concluded later in 1999.

Operation Scorn

Operation Scorn was established by Victoria Police in 1996 to investigate Mr Brian Wilson, Ms Gobbo’s then de facto partner, in relation to alleged possession of drugs and firearms. Mr Craig Brien was the lead investigator and Ms Gobbo provided information to assist police. Operation Scorn was cancelled due to concerns Ms Gobbo was behaving inappropriately.

Operation Spake

Operation Spake was established by Victoria Police in 2003 to investigate the manufacture of methylamphetamine at clandestine laboratories in Toolern Vale and Springvale. Mr Matthew Finn and Mr Wayne Finn were convicted as a result of this operation, while charges against Mr Antonios (Tony) Mokbel were ultimately discontinued. Key investigators included Mr Craig Hayes and Mr Jason Kelly.

Operation Yak

Operation Yak was established by Victoria Police in 1993 following information received that Mr Brian Wilson, Ms Gobbo’s then defacto partner and co-owner of a house in Carlton, Melbourne, was trafficking drugs. This led to the execution of a search warrant at the house. Mr Wilson was charged with drug trafficking and use and possession of a drug of dependence, for which he received a suspended sentence. Ms Gobbo was charged with the possession and use of amphetamine and cannabis. She pleaded guilty and received a good behaviour bond with no conviction recorded.


List of key people relevant to the use of Ms Nicola Gobbo as a human source

Nicola Gobbo

Ms Nicola Gobbo was a practising criminal defence barrister between 1997 and 2010 and represented a number of high-profile clients involved in Melbourne’s ‘gangland wars’. At various times between 1995 and 2009, Ms Gobbo was also a registered human source for Victoria Police. In this role, she provided information about numerous people, including some of her clients. After being deregistered as a human source in January 2009, Ms Gobbo continued to provide information to Victoria Police until at least 2010. Ms Gobbo has also been referred to as ‘Lawyer X’, ‘EF’, ‘Witness F’ and by her human source registration numbers ‘3838’ and ‘2958’.

Victoria Police

Leadership of Victoria Police

Graham Ashton

Between 2004 and 2009, Mr Graham Ashton, AM, APM was the Assistant Director and later Deputy Director of the Office of Police Integrity. He was a member of joint Victoria Police–Office of Police Integrity Boards of Management for the Petra and Briars Taskforces involved in the use of Ms Gobbo as a human source, and was involved in discussions about Ms Gobbo transitioning from a human source to a witness in relation to the prosecution of Mr Paul Dale.

In 2009, Mr Ashton joined Victoria Police and in 2011, he was appointed Assistant Commissioner, Crime. Mr Ashton was appointed Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police in 2015. He retired from this position in 2020.

Timothy (Tim) Cartwright

In 2011, Mr Tim Cartwright, APM was the Acting Deputy Commissioner, Crime and Operations Support, at Victoria Police. He took part in negotiations about the use of Ms Gobbo as a witness against Mr Paul Dale. In 2012, he supported the establishment of the Comrie Review, which examined the use of Ms Gobbo as a human source.

In 2013, Mr Cartwright was appointed Executive Sponsor for Operation Loricated, which implemented a recommendation of the Comrie Review. In 2014, as Acting Chief Commissioner, he was involved in Victoria Police’s response to the ‘Lawyer X’ articles published by the Herald Sun. In early 2015, Mr Cartwright was involved in responding to the Kellam Report and implementing a number of its recommendations.

Thomas (Luke) Cornelius

Mr Luke Cornelius, APM was the Assistant Commissioner of the Ethical Standards Department of Victoria Police between 2005 and 2010. In 2006, he was involved in Operation Khadi. From 2007 to 2010, he was a member on the Briars Taskforce Board of Management and between 2008 and 2010, he was a member of the Petra Taskforce Board of Management.

Sir Kenneth (Ken) Jones

Between 2009 and 2011, Sir Ken Jones, QPM held the role of Deputy Commissioner, Crime, at Victoria Police. Prior to this, Sir Ken had occupied a number of senior policing roles in the United Kingdom. He took control of the Briars and Petra Taskforces in early 2010 and led the Driver Taskforce after the murder of Mr Carl Williams in 2010. Sir Ken left Victoria Police in 2011.

Kenneth (Ken) Lay

During 2011, Mr Ken Lay, AO, APM was the Acting Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police and was involved in establishing the Comrie Review. In late 2011, Mr Lay was appointed Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police. He remained in that position until his resignation in 2015.

Christine Nixon

Ms Christine Nixon, APM was Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police between 2001 and 2009. In 2001, she commissioned the Purton Review to examine corruption and other issues in the Drug Squad. As a result of that review, she introduced structural changes to the Drug Squad, replacing it with the Major Drug Investigation Division. Victoria Police’s first comprehensive, organisation-wide human source management policy was introduced during Ms Nixon’s time as Chief Commissioner.

Simon Overland

Mr Simon Overland, APM was the Assistant Commissioner, Crime, at Victoria Police in 2003. Between 2003 and 2008, he had oversight of several investigations relating to the Purana, Petra and Briars Taskforces, in which officers had dealings with Ms Gobbo. In 2006, he sat on the Rewards Committee that approved the withdrawal of Ms Gobbo’s speeding fines, along with Mr Jack Blayney and Mr Dannye Moloney. In the same year, he was appointed Deputy Commissioner and continued to be involved in investigations that related to Ms Gobbo.

In 2009, Mr Overland was appointed Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police. He resigned from that role in 2011.

Shane Patton

Mr Shane Patton, APM is the current Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police. He assumed that role in mid-2020. Mr Patton previously held the role of Deputy Commissioner, Specialist Operations, from 2015, before moving to the role of Deputy Commissioner, Regional Operations, in 2018.

Mr Patton chaired the Bendigo Taskforce Steering Committee. While in this role, he was involved in discussions with the Director of Public Prosecutions regarding disclosure of Victoria Police’s use of Ms Gobbo as a human source and with the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission regarding potential misconduct by police officers in their use of Ms Gobbo.

Mr Patton was Mr Simon Overland’s chief of staff at the time that Mr Overland resigned in 2011.

Officers of the Source Development Unit1

Anthony (Tony) Biggin

Between 2005 and 2010, Mr Tony Biggin was a Superintendent in the Covert Services Division of the Intelligence and Covert Support Command and managed several units in this division. In 2006, he audited Ms Gobbo’s human source file and in the same year he went on to manage the Source Development Unit, which had responsibility for the management of Ms Gobbo as a human source.

Douglas (Doug) Cowlishaw

Between 2005 and 2006, Mr Doug Cowlishaw was the Detective Acting Superintendent of the State Intelligence Division. He was the immediate supervisor of Officer Sandy White (a pseudonym), who was Ms Gobbo’s dedicated controller when she was managed by the Source Development Unit. He was listed as the Officer in Charge on the application that registered Ms Gobbo as a human source.

Robert (Rob) Hardie

Between 2005 and 2008, Mr Rob Hardie was the Detective Inspector and Officer in Charge of the Source Development Unit.

Andrew Glow

Between 2008 and 2011, Mr Andrew Glow was the Inspector in charge of the Source Development Unit.

John O’Connor

Mr John O’Connor was a Detective Inspector in charge of the Source Development Unit from 2010 until its closure in 2013. He acted as Ms Gobbo’s point of contact between 2010 and 2012.

Paul Sheridan

Between 2010 and 2015, Mr Paul Sheridan was the Detective Superintendent in charge of the Covert Services Division, which included the Source Development Unit until its closure in 2013. He was involved in discussions about managing Ms Gobbo as a witness in relation to Mr Paul Dale.

1 The Source Development Unit was formerly known as the Dedicated Source Unit.

Handlers and Controllers
Officer Sandy White (a pseudonym) Officer Sandy White was Ms Gobbo’s dedicated controller at the Source Development Unit during the period of her registration as a human source between 2005 and 2009. His role also included acting as the Officer in Charge of the unit, given the absence of a full-time Inspector.
Officer Black (a pseudonym) Officer Black acted as Ms Gobbo’s controller when Officer Sandy White was on leave. He also acted as one of Ms Gobbo’s handlers between 2005 and 2006.
Officer Peter Smith (a pseudonym) Officer Peter Smith attended the introductory meeting between the Source Development Unit, Ms Gobbo and members of the Major Drug Investigation Division. He acted as one of Ms Gobbo’s handlers for periods between 2005 and 2009.

Officer Anderson (a pseudonym)

Officer Anderson was Ms Gobbo’s handler at certain periods between 2006 and 2007.

Officer Green (a pseudonym)

Officer Green was Ms Gobbo’s handler at certain periods between 2006 and 2008. He was also seconded to the Drug Taskforce between June and September 2007.

Officer Fox (a pseudonym)

Officer Fox was Ms Gobbo’s handler at certain periods between 2007 and 2009.

Officer Pearce (a pseudonym)

Officer Pearce was seconded to the Source Development Unit in 2011. He was involved in matters relating to Ms Gobbo during the trial of Mr Zlate Cvetanovski.

Officer Richards (a pseudonym)

Officer Richards was handler between 2006 and 2009 for human sources other than Ms Gobbo. He acted as controller when Officer Sandy White was on leave in 2007, 2008 and 2009.

In 2012, Mr Richards had conversations with Ms Gobbo while she was being assessed for witness protection.

Officer Wolf (a pseudonym)

Officer Wolf was Ms Gobbo’s handler at certain periods in 2008.

Investigators and other Victoria Police personnel

Timothy (Tim) Argall

Between 1995 and 1996, Mr Tim Argall was a Constable in District Support Group ‘A’. He spoke to Ms Gobbo several times about her then de facto partner, Mr Brian Wilson.

In 2003, Mr Argall associated with Ms Gobbo socially. During this time, he also associated with Mr Paul Dale. After Mr Dale was arrested in connection with the burglary of a house in Dublin Street, Oakleigh, Mr Argall sought legal advice from Ms Gobbo due to his friendship with Mr Dale.

Noel Ashby

Mr Noel Ashby, APM was an Assistant Commissioner at Victoria Police from 1998 to 2007. He was alleged to have been involved in leaking confidential information regarding the Briars Taskforce, alongside Mr Paul Mullett. In 2008, he was charged with offences that were ultimately resolved by a combination of discharge, discontinuance and acquittal.

Trevor Ashton

Mr Trevor Ashton was involved in executing a search warrant at Ms Gobbo’s house in 1993, when he was a Sergeant at District Support Group ‘A’ at Victoria Police. Ms Gobbo later provided information to him about her partner’s drug activities. He registered her as a human source in 1995 (her first registration).

Lindsay Attrill

Mr Lindsay Attrill was a Detective Inspector at the Ethical Standards Department of Victoria Police in 2006. He was involved in Operation Khadi.

Stuart Bateson

Mr Stuart Bateson was a Detective Sergeant in the Purana Taskforce in 2003. He was involved in the arrests of Mr McGrath (a pseudonym) and Mr Andrews (a pseudonym) for the murder of Mr Michael Marshall. He dealt with Ms Gobbo in relation to Mr McGrath’s plea negotiations in 2004. During this time, Ms Gobbo had numerous discussions with Mr Bateson about assisting police and her safety concerns. Mr Bateson later dealt with Ms Gobbo in 2005 and 2006 in relation to Mr Thomas (a pseudonym), whom she represented after he was charged with the murders of Mr Jason Moran and Mr Pasquale Barbaro.

Charlie Bezzina

Mr Charlie Bezzina was a Detective Senior Sergeant at the Homicide Squad at Victoria Police between 1996 and 2007. He led the investigation into the murders of Mr Terrence (Terry) Hodson and his wife Mrs Christine Hodson. As part of the investigation, he interviewed Ms Gobbo as a potential witness about her knowledge of the murders.

John (Jack) Blayney

Mr Jack Blayney, APM was a Detective Senior Sergeant in the Covert Investigation Unit of Victoria Police at the time of Ms Gobbo’s first registration as a human source in 1995. He was involved in the decision to cancel an operation that used Ms Gobbo. From 2004, Mr Blayney was a Detective Superintendent in the Crime Department and in 2006, he sat on the Rewards Committee that approved the withdrawal of Ms Gobbo’s speeding fines, along with Mr Simon Overland and Mr Dannye Moloney.

Boris Buick

Mr Boris Buick was a Detective Senior Constable in Victoria Police’s Purana Taskforce in 2003. He had dealings with Ms Gobbo during this time, when she was representing Mr McGrath (a pseudonym), and later Mr Thomas (a pseudonym). In 2011, Mr Buick dealt with Ms Gobbo again, when she was a prosecution witness in relation to charges against Mr Paul Dale brought by the Australian Crime Commission.

Stephen Campbell

Mr Stephen Campbell met Ms Gobbo in 1999, when he was a Detective Senior Constable of Victoria Police and the informant in a matter in which Ms Gobbo was acting for the accused person. They commenced a casual intimate relationship that continued sporadically over several years. In 2003, Mr Campbell was charged with drug-related offences.

Paul Dale

Mr Paul Dale was a Detective Sergeant in Victoria Police’s Major Drug Investigation Division from 2002 until he resigned from Victoria Police in 2005. He was alleged to be involved in the 2003 burglary of a house in Dublin Street, Oakleigh with Mr Terry Hodson, and in the 2004 murders of Mr Hodson and his wife, Mrs Christine Hodson. Mr Dale alleges he sought legal advice from Ms Gobbo as well as associating with her socially. In 2003 or 2004, Mr Dale had a brief intimate relationship with Ms Gobbo. Ms Gobbo was to be a witness in the trials against Mr Dale in 2009 and 2010.

Cameron Davey

Mr Cameron Davey was a Detective Senior Constable in the Homicide Squad of Victoria Police between 2002 and 2007. He was involved in the investigation of the murders of Mr Terry Hodson and Mrs Christine Hodson. In 2004, he and Mr Charlie Bezzina interviewed Ms Gobbo about her knowledge of the murders. He was later seconded to the Petra Taskforce. Mr Sol Solomon and Mr Davey interviewed Ms Gobbo in relation to that investigation.

Peter De Santo

Mr Peter De Santo was a Detective Inspector in the Ethical Standards Department involved in Victoria Police’s Ceja Taskforce in 2002. Between 2002 and 2003, while Ms Gobbo was representing Mr Antonios (Tony) Mokbel, she spoke to Mr De Santo a number of times in relation to allegations that officers investigating Mr Mokbel and others had engaged in police corruption. Mr De Santo was also involved in the Dublin Street, Oakleigh burglary investigation in 2003.

Dale Flynn

Mr Dale Flynn was a Detective Sergeant at Victoria Police’s Major Drug Investigation Division before moving to the Purana Taskforce, first as a Detective Sergeant and then a Detective Senior Sergeant. Between 2002 and 2008, he was involved in investigations that received information provided by Ms Gobbo, particularly Operation Posse.

Andrew (Murray) Gregor

Mr Murray Gregor was a Detective Senior Sergeant in Victoria Police’s Ethical Standards Department between 2001 and 2004. In 2003, he was involved in the Dublin Street, Oakleigh burglary investigation. He spoke to Mr Terry Hodson about cooperating with police in their investigations of then Victoria Police officers Mr David Miechel and Mr Paul Dale.

Mark Hatt

Mr Mark Hatt was a Detective Senior Constable in Victoria Police’s Purana Taskforce between 2003 and 2004, and between 2006 and 2010. He was involved in a number of investigations that dealt with Ms Gobbo, both in her capacity as a barrister representing accused persons and as a human source.

Paul Hollowood

Mr Paul Hollowood was a Detective Superintendent in the Crime Department of Victoria Police between 2004 and 2011. From 2008 until 2011, he was Tasking Coordination Manager in the Crime Department, which involved him receiving regular briefings about major investigations, including the Purana and Petra Taskforces.

Ronald (Ron) Iddles

Mr Ron Iddles, OAM, APM was a Detective Senior Sergeant in Victoria Police’s Homicide Squad in 1989 and between 1994 and 2014. He was seconded to the Briars Taskforce between 2007 and 2008. He was also involved in the Taskforce in 2009, when he travelled to Bali with Mr Steve Waddell to obtain a statement from Ms Gobbo about her knowledge of the murder of Mr Shane Chartres-Abbott, and information about then Victoria Police officer Mr David Waters and his alleged involvement in the murder.

Officer Kruger (a pseudonym)

Officer Kruger had contact with Ms Gobbo between 1997 and 1999 when he was an officer in Victoria Police’s Drug Squad. Ms Gobbo was representing a number of accused persons being investigated by Mr Kruger. He introduced her to members of the Asset Recovery Squad after she made allegations that her employer, Solicitor 1 (a pseudonym), was misusing his trust fund.

Christopher Lim

Mr Christopher Lim was an officer in Victoria Police’s Drug Squad in 1998. He and Officer Kruger (a pseudonym) met with Ms Gobbo several times regarding her allegations about Solicitor 1 (a pseudonym).

Steve Mansell

Mr Steve Mansell was a Detective Sergeant in Victoria Police’s Major Drug Investigation Division in 2005. In 2005, he and Mr Paul Rowe were involved in discussions with Ms Gobbo, during which she expressed a willingness to provide information to Victoria Police. These conversations resulted in her being referred to the Source Development Unit.

Findlay (Fin) McRae

Since 2006, Mr Fin McRae has been the Executive Director of Legal Services at Victoria Police. In 2009, he was involved in negotiations with Ms Gobbo and Victoria Police about her entry into witness protection. In 2010, he dealt with the settlement of Ms Gobbo’s civil litigation against Victoria Police.

In late 2011, Mr McRae was provided with the ‘Maguire advice’ that led to the Comrie Review, and between 2012 and 2014, he held discussions with the Director of Public Prosecutions about the steps Victoria Police was taking to identify if any prosecutions may have been affected by the use of Ms Gobbo as a human source. As the Executive Director of Legal Services, he was involved in the court proceedings in which Ms Gobbo and Victoria Police sought to prevent the Director of Public Prosecutions from disclosing Ms Gobbo’s identity to several individuals.

David Miechel

Mr David Miechel was a Detective Senior Constable in the Victoria Police Drug Squad. In 2003, Mr Miechel was arrested alongside Mr Terry Hodson for the burglary of a house in Dublin Street, Oakleigh that was believed to contain large amounts of cash and drugs. At the time, Mr Hodson was a human source for Victoria Police and Mr Miechel was his handler. Mr Miechel was later convicted for the Dublin Street burglary and sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of 12 years.

Dannye Moloney

Mr Dannye Moloney, APM was a Superintendent and Acting Commander of Victoria Police’s Ceja Taskforce between 2001 and 2006. He also held the role of Commander, Intelligence and Covert Support. He was a member of the Human Source Management Project Steering Committee in 2004, which oversaw the Dedicated Source Unit Pilot Project. After the completion of the pilot, this unit went on to manage Ms Gobbo after she was registered as a human source. In 2006, he sat on the Rewards Committee that approved the withdrawal of Ms Gobbo’s speeding fines, along with Mr Simon Overland and Mr Jack Blayney. In 2008, after taking up the role of Assistant Commissioner, Crime, Mr Moloney was a member of the Petra Taskforce Board of Management. In 2009, he was a member of the Briars Taskforce Board of Management.

Paul Mullett

Mr Paul Mullett, APM was a Victoria Police officer from 1974 to 1992 and Secretary of The Police Association from 1998 to 2009. He was alleged to have been involved in leaking confidential information regarding the Briars Taskforce, alongside Mr Noel Ashby. In 2008, he was charged with offences that were ultimately resolved by a combination of discharge, discontinuance and acquittal.

James (Jim) O’Brien

Mr Jim O’Brien was a Detective Senior Sergeant at Victoria Police’s Major Drug Investigation Division in 2005. He referred Ms Gobbo to the Source Development Unit after she expressed interest in providing information to police. He then became the Officer in Charge of the Purana Taskforce. In this role, he managed a number of investigations, particularly Operation Posse, which utilised information provided by Ms Gobbo. He was later appointed as the Acting Detective Inspector of the Purana Taskforce and promoted to Detective Inspector of the Taskforce in 2007.

Shane O’Connell

Mr Shane O’Connell was transferred from Victoria Police’s Purana Taskforce to its Petra Taskforce in 2007. He soon assumed the role of Acting Inspector of the Petra Taskforce due to the departure of Mr Gavan Ryan. He was involved in discussions with Ms Gobbo about her assisting the Taskforce by providing a statement, and later about her role as a witness in the prosecution of Mr Paul Dale.

Jeffrey (Jeff) Pope

Mr Jeff Pope was a Detective Senior Constable in Victoria Police’s Asset Recovery Squad between 1999 and 2000. He was introduced to Ms Gobbo by officers of the Drug Squad after she made money laundering allegations against her employer. He later registered her as a human source in 1999 (her second registration) due to the information she provided against her employer. Mr Pope left Victoria Police in 2004 but re-joined in 2009, after being appointed Assistant Commissioner, Intelligence and Covert Support. He was involved in drafting the terms of reference for the Comrie Review and in the decision to close the Source Development Unit in 2013.

Paul Rowe

Mr Paul Rowe was a Detective Senior Constable in Victoria Police’s Major Drug Investigation Division in 2005. Mr Rowe and Mr Steve Mansell had conversations with Ms Gobbo in 2005, during which she showed a willingness to provide information to Victoria Police. He was involved in her introduction to the Source Development Unit, which went on to manage her as a human source. He then moved to the Purana Taskforce, where he was involved in investigations that dealt with Ms Gobbo.

Gavan Ryan

Mr Gavan Ryan was a Detective Senior Sergeant in Victoria Police’s Purana Taskforce. In 2005, he was promoted to Detective Inspector at the Major Drug Investigation Division. Ms Gobbo gave information to investigations in which Mr Ryan was involved. In 2007, he was appointed to lead the Petra Taskforce, and in the same year he attended the Office of Police Integrity examinations of Ms Gobbo by the Honourable Gerald Edward (Tony) Fitzgerald, AC, QC. Mr Ryan left Victoria Police in 2008 to join the Australian Federal Police.

Solon (Sol) Solomon

Mr Sol Solomon was a Detective Sergeant in Victoria Police’s Homicide Squad. In 2007, he was seconded to the Petra Taskforce. He and Mr Cameron Davey interviewed Ms Gobbo in relation to the Petra Taskforce investigation.

Wayne Strawhorn

Mr Wayne Strawhorn was a Detective Senior Sergeant in Victoria Police’s Drug Squad in 1998. He was involved in investigations in which Ms Gobbo was acting for several accused persons, including Person 2 (a pseudonym). Ms Gobbo later made allegations to him regarding her former employer. Mr Strawhorn’s interactions with Ms Gobbo overlapped with her representation of Mr Dragan Arnautovic between 1997 and 1999. Mr Strawhorn was later convicted and imprisoned for drug offences.

Philip Swindells

Mr Philip Swindells was a Detective Senior Sergeant in charge of gangland murder investigations at Purana Taskforce between 2003 and 2005 and was involved in murder investigations involving Mr McGrath (a pseudonym) as a suspect who was represented by Ms Gobbo. In 2003, Mr Swindells had a conversation with Ms Gobbo about her safety concerns. He later became a Detective Inspector at the Ethical Standards Department, during which time he was involved in Operation Khadi.

Stephen (Steve) Waddell

Mr Steve Waddell was an Inspector in Victoria Police’s Ethical Standards Department in 2006. In early 2007, he was seconded to the Briars Taskforce during its first phase of operations. After it was reconvened in 2009, he returned to the Taskforce. In 2009, he travelled with Mr Ron Iddles to Bali to take a statement from Ms Gobbo.

David Waters

Mr David Waters was a former Victoria Police officer who was a person of interest in the murder of Mr Shane Chartres-Abbott. Ms Gobbo was linked to Mr Waters through her friendship with Mr Stephen Campbell.

People involved in inquiries into the use of Ms Gobbo as a human source

Neil Comrie

Mr Neil Comrie AO, APM was Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police between 1993 and 2001. In 2012, Mr Comrie conducted a confidential Victoria Police review titled Victoria Police Human Source 3838: A Case Review (Comrie Review). This review examined Victoria Police’s use of Ms Gobbo as a human source and the policies and practices relevant to her management between 2005 and 2009.

John Champion

The Honourable Justice John Champion, SC was the Director of Public Prosecutions between 2011 and 2017. In 2016, Mr Champion finalised a report titled Report of the Director of Public Prosecutions in Relation to Recommendation 12 of the Kellam Report (Champion Report). This report considered whether the prosecution of individuals named in the Kellam Report resulted in miscarriages of justice. Mr Champion concluded he had a duty to disclose this possibility to the affected individuals.

Murray Kellam

The Honourable Murray Kellam, AO, QC is a former Justice of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Victoria. Between 2014 and 2015, Mr Kellam led an inquiry on behalf of the Independent Broad-based Anti‑corruption Commission into Victoria Police’s use of Ms Gobbo as a human source between 2005 and 2009. His report, titled Report Concerning Victoria Police Handling of Human Source Code Name 3838 (Kellam Report), identified nine individuals who were convicted of serious criminal offences and whose cases may have been affected by Victoria Police’s use of Ms Gobbo as a human source.

Clients and other associates of Ms Gobbo

Mr Agrum (a pseudonym)

Mr Agrum was an associate of Mr Cooper (a pseudonym). Ms Gobbo appeared for Mr Agrum after he was arrested in 2006 alongside Mr Cooper. He was convicted in relation to drug trafficking offences and sentenced to four years’ imprisonment, with a non-parole period of two years and six months.

Mr Andrews (a pseudonym)

Mr Andrews was an associate of Mr Carl Williams and Mr McGrath (a pseudonym). He pleaded guilty to the murders of Mr Michael Marshall, Mr Jason Moran and Mr Pasquale Barbaro. He later assisted police by making statements against criminal associates. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 23 years.

Dragan Arnautovic

Mr Dragan Arnautovic was a former client of Ms Gobbo in the late 1990s who was convicted of heroin trafficking. In 1999, he was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of nine years.

Mr Bickley (a pseudonym)

Mr Bickley was an associate of the Mokbels. Ms Gobbo represented him during his first and second arrests for drug-related offences in 2005 and 2006. Around the time of Mr Bickley’s first arrest and bail hearing, police officers Mr Paul Rowe and Mr Steve Mansell had conversations with Ms Gobbo that led to her introduction to the Source Development Unit.

Mr Bickley went on to assist police and made several statements against associates. He was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment, which was wholly suspended.

Mr Cooper (a pseudonym)

Mr Cooper was an associate of the Mokbels who manufactured methamphetamine. He was both a client and a close friend of Ms Gobbo. Beginning in late 2005, Ms Gobbo provided information about him to her handlers, including the location of a laboratory he used to manufacture drugs.

After Mr Cooper was arrested in 2006, Ms Gobbo represented him. Mr Cooper provided statements to police and gave evidence in relation to various other targets of the Purana Taskforce. He was ultimately sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of seven years.

Alexandra Cvetanovski

Mrs Alexandra Cvetanovski was the wife of Mr Zlate Cvetanovski and a client of Ms Gobbo. She was sentenced to a two-year community based order for her role in her husband’s fraudulent loan applications.

Zlate Cvetanovski

Mr Zlate Cvetanovski was an associate of Mr Cooper (a pseudonym) and a client of Ms Gobbo. He was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment for various offences relating to drug manufacturing and trafficking, fraudulent loan applications and credit card transactions.

In October 2020, some of Mr Cvetanovski’s convictions relating to drug offences were overturned by the Court of Appeal on the basis that a substantial miscarriage of justice occurred when key facts were not disclosed, such as various payments being made into the prison account of Mr Cooper as well as Ms Gobbo’s role in Mr Cooper’s decision to cooperate with police and implicate Mr Cvetanovski.

Mr Domenic (Mick) Gatto

Mr Mick Gatto headed the ‘Carlton Crew’ and was a target of the Purana Taskforce. He was the first person prosecuted by the Taskforce, after he killed Mr Andrew Veniamin in 2004. His murder trial resulted in a verdict of not guilty on the grounds of self defence in 2005. From 2006, Ms Gobbo and Mr Gatto began to socialise and in 2007, she began representing him in relation to his business matters.

Terrence (Terry) Hodson

Mr Terry Hodson was a registered human source for Victoria Police. In 2003, he was arrested along with his handler, then Detective Senior Constable David Miechel, in relation to the burglary of a house in Dublin Street, Oakleigh. Mr Hodson later agreed to cooperate with investigators from the Ethical Standards Department, leading to Mr Miechel and his Sergeant, Mr Paul Dale, being arrested and charged in relation to the burglary. In 2004, before he could give evidence, Mr Hodson and his wife were murdered in their home.

Christine Hodson

Mrs Christine Hodson was the wife of Mr Terry Hodson. The pair were murdered in their home in 2004.

Andrew Hodson

Mr Andrew Hodson is the son of Mr Terry Hodson and Mrs Christine Hodson. He is also a former client of Ms Gobbo.

Mr McGrath (a pseudonym)

Mr McGrath was an associate of Mr Carl Williams. Ms Gobbo represented him after he was arrested for the murder of Mr Michael Marshall. He later assisted police and made statements against his associates. He was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 10 years.

Mr Faruk Orman

Mr Faruk Orman was a member of Mr Mick Gatto’s ‘Carlton Crew’. In 2009, Mr Orman was convicted of the murder of Mr Victor Peirce and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 14 years. In 2019, Mr Orman’s conviction was overturned by the court on the basis that a substantial miscarriage of justice occurred when Ms Gobbo actively encouraged her client, Mr Thomas (a pseudonym), to give evidence in the murder trial against Mr Orman at a time when she was also representing Mr Orman.

Mr Thomas (a pseudonym)

Mr Thomas was an associate of Mr Tony Mokbel and Mr Carl Williams. Ms Gobbo began representing him in 2002. This representation continued when he was arrested and charged with the murders of Mr Pasquale Barbaro and Mr Jason Moran. Mr Thomas went on to make statements against associates, most notably against Mr Faruk Orman. He was sentenced to 23 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 12 years.

Carl Williams

Mr Carl Williams was a key figure in the gangland wars. Ms Gobbo regularly represented him between 2003 and 2005 and continued to advise him on an informal basis between 2006 and 2007. She also socialised with him. Ms Gobbo also provided information to her handlers about Mr Williams. In 2006, on becoming aware that Ms Gobbo proposed to act for one of his co-accused in relation to a murder trial, Mr Williams complained to the Supreme Court judge hearing his murder trial, the Victorian Bar Ethics Committee and the Law Institute of Victoria about her conflicted position.

In 2006 and 2007, Mr Williams was convicted of multiple murders and sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 35 years. In early 2007, Mr Williams made a statement to the Petra Taskforce implicating Mr Paul Dale in the murders of Mr Terry Hodson and Mrs Christine Hodson, and alleging that Ms Gobbo acted as a conduit between himself and Mr Dale. He was murdered in prison in 2010.

The Mokbels

Antonios (Tony) Mokbel

Mr Tony Mokbel was a high-profile drug trafficker who headed one of the major drug cartels involved in the gangland wars. He is the third eldest sibling of the Mokbel family. Mr Mokbel was a key target of Victoria Police during the early 2000s. Ms Gobbo regularly represented him and his associates in criminal proceedings. She also socialised with him and his associates regularly.

In 2006, while on trial in relation to drug offences, Mr Mokbel fled to Greece. He returned to Australia in 2008 after being extradited. In 2012, Mr Mokbel was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 22 years.

Horty Mokbel

Mr Horty Mokbel is the second eldest of the five Mokbel children and was a client of Ms Gobbo. He was convicted of charges relating to possessing equipment and substances with the intention of drug trafficking. In 2010, he was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of four years.

Kabalan Mokbel

Mr Kabalan Mokbel is the eldest of the five Mokbel children and was a client of Ms Gobbo. He was convicted of drug trafficking. In 2007, he was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment.

Milad Mokbel

Mr Milad Mokbel was the youngest of the five Mokbel children and a client of Ms Gobbo. He was convicted of various offences, including drug trafficking and dealing with proceeds of crime. Mr Mokbel was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of eight years. He died in 2020.

Renate Mokbel

Ms Renate Mokbel is the widow of Mr Milad Mokbel. She was also a client of Ms Gobbo. She was convicted of perjury charges relating to her acting as surety for her brother-in law, Mr Tony Mokbel. In 2008, she was sentenced to a partially suspended term of imprisonment of two years and nine months.

Zaharoula Mokbel

Ms Zaharoula Mokbel is the wife of Mr Horty Mokbel and was a client of Ms Gobbo. She was convicted of offending related to falsified mortgage loan applications. In 2009, she was sentenced to a suspended term of imprisonment of two years and nine months.

The ‘Tomato Tins’ drug-trafficking syndicate

Salvatore Agresta

Mr Salvatore Agresta was convicted for his role as a ‘foot soldier’, intermediary and trafficker in the drug-trafficking syndicate headed by Mr Pasquale Barbaro, which imported 15 million ecstasy pills into Melbourne. He was also a client of Ms Gobbo. He was sentenced to 16 years’ imprisonment across two separate trials. In 2020, Mr Agresta launched an appeal against his conviction, citing Ms Gobbo’s involvement with police.

Pasquale Barbaro

Mr Pasquale Barbaro was the head of the Tomato Tins syndicate and a client of Ms Gobbo. He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a non-parole period of 30 years. In 2020, he launched an appeal against his conviction, citing Ms Gobbo’s involvement with police.

A different individual also known as Mr Pasquale Barbaro was murdered alongside Mr Jason Moran.

Carmelo Falanga

Mr Carmelo Falanga was convicted over his role as the co-financier and key organiser of the Tomato Tins syndicate. Mr Falanga was sentenced to 23 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 16 years and six months. In 2020, he launched an appeal against his conviction, citing Ms Gobbo’s involvement with police.

John Higgs

Mr John Higgs was a veteran drug trafficker and a close associate of Mr Rob Karam. Convicted over his role in the Tomato Tins syndicate, Mr Higgs was sentenced to 18 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 14 years.

Rabie (Rob) Karam

Mr Rob Karam was an associate of the Mokbels and a client of Ms Gobbo. He was sentenced to 37 years’ imprisonment for drug offences, with a non-parole period of 22 years. In 2020, he launched an appeal against his conviction, citing Ms Gobbo’s involvement with police.

Francesco Madafferi

Mr Francesco Madafferi was convicted for his ‘high-level’ role in the distribution chain of the Tomato Tins syndicate. He was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of seven years. In 2020, he launched an appeal against his conviction, citing Ms Gobbo’s involvement with police.

Sharon Ropa

Ms Sharon Ropa was the girlfriend of Mr Pasquale Barbaro. She was convicted over her role in the Tomato Tins syndicate. She was sentenced to nine years and six months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of seven years.

Jan Visser

Mr Jan Visser was long-time associate of Mr Pasquale Barbaro. He was convicted over his role as a ‘foot soldier’ and ‘fixer’ in the Tomato Tins syndicate. He was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of eight years. In 2019, he launched an appeal against his conviction, citing Ms Gobbo’s involvement with police.

Saverio Zirilli

Mr Saverio Zirilli is the cousin of Mr Pasquale Barbaro and was a client of Ms Gobbo. He was convicted over his role as Mr Barbaro’s ‘right-hand man’ in the Tomato Tins syndicate. Mr Zirilli was sentenced to 26 years’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 18 years. In 2020, he launched an appeal against his conviction, citing Ms Gobbo’s involvement with police.

Reviewed 08 December 2020

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