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Lawyer X launched fresh legal action against Victoria Police

Former criminal barrister Nicola Gobbo made explosive accusations about senior Victoria Police members in a lawsuit seeking damages for the alleged negligence behind the Lawyer X scandal.

user iconNaomi Neilson 04 July 2023 Big Law
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Ms Gobbo alleged Victoria Police’s conduct in signing her up as a police informant against her own clients was “insulting and reprehensible”, and it derailed her career, forced her to flee her home and left her with a fear she may be killed.

The lawsuit, which is seeking aggravated damages, was filed in 2021 but was only revealed for the first time late last week after the Victorian Supreme Court lifted the suppression orders.

Inside the statement of claim, Ms Gobbo alleges former chief commissioner, Simon Overland, undermined the criminal justice system by having Ms Gobbo provide confidential or privileged information about current and former clients.

 
 

He also allegedly committed “malfeasance in public office” by invalidly using his power to allow Ms Gobbo to be registered.

“Those current and former clients were not informed that Ms Gobbo was a Victoria Police informer and providing confidential and/or privileged communications to the police pertaining to them, in breach of Mr Overland’s and police officer’s duty of disclosure, which was contrary to law and gave rise to perverting the course of justice, a criminal offence,” the statement of claim read.

The lawsuit also alleges wrongdoing against five officers, including detectives Stuart Bateson, Steve Mansell and Paul Rowe.

The claim alleges police should have known Ms Gobbo was “vulnerable, being concerned about her health, scared for her welfare and/or under pressure as a result of her gangland convictions”.

It added Ms Gobbo is seeking exemplary damages, “which should be awarded to punish those Victoria Police officers and deter other police officers from doing what has been doing [again]”.

Ms Gobbo settled a lawsuit with Victoria Police in 2010 for $2.88 million after her name was disclosed during court proceedings against former drug squad detective Paul Dale.

The news comes days after the Office of the Special Investigator was closed down after it failed to lay criminal or disciplinary charges.

Special investigator and former High Court justice Geoffrey Nettle said the office created several briefs of evidence, but none of them had been accepted by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd.

He then issued an ultimatum to either accept his resignation or replace him with “someone whose view as to the weight of the evidence required to warrant prosecution for relevant officers more closely accorded to the director’s position”.

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