Former Victoria Police chief Simon Overland now claims he told his boss Christine Nixon in 2005 that Lawyer X Nicola Gobbo was a police informer.
Mr Overland, who was deputy commissioner before replacing Ms Nixon as chief commissioner, says newly discovered diaries from his time with the force has required changes to his evidence.
Three of Mr Overland’s work diaries were discovered in a Melbourne storage facility late last year, days after he told a royal commission into police use of informers he didn’t keep any.
The diaries cover a period from February 2003 to May 2008. There’s a gap from October 2006 to November 2007 which has prompted Mr Overland to concede a fourth diary may exist.
He told the royal commission into police use of informers in December he couldn’t remember if he told Ms Nixon when she was police chief that a lawyer had been recruited as an informer.
Ms Nixon herself told the inquiry she believed the first she heard of Ms Gobbo’s informing was when she became a police witness in 2009.
But now Mr Overland says he did tell her years earlier.
“Having now reviewed my diary, I note that I was involved in 14 meetings with Ms Nixon regarding Purana Task Force matters and I believe that I did, in fact, inform her of Ms Gobbo’s recruitment on 29 September 2005,” he said.
“I have no independent recollection of this meeting, but note the contents of my diary entry that indicates I did tell her about the registration of Ms Gobbo as a human source.”
The diaries were found in a police archive facility after a tip from Mr Overland’s former chief of staff.
“I apologise to the commission for not remembering the existence of diaries kept during my time at Victoria Police,” Mr Overland said in a second formal statement to the inquiry on Tuesday.
Grilled about the diaries, Mr Overland said he had made six different requests asking for any material including diaries held by police, and that none had been provided.
“I was convinced they didn’t exist,” he said, explaining his confidence in saying he hadn’t kept any.
The inquiry resumed on Tuesday after the summer break.
Ms Gobbo is expected to give evidence over the phone in the coming weeks from an undisclosed overseas location.
She was registered as a police informer three times between 1995 and 2009, helping police bring down clients including some of Melbourne’s best known underworld figures.
The inquiry before Commissioner Margaret McMurdo has learned officers continued to chase intel from Ms Gobbo until at least 2012.