News State Victoria Nicola Gobbo claims ignorance on police informing
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Nicola Gobbo claims ignorance on police informing

Nicola Gobbo gave an interview to the ABC's 7.30 program in a secret location late last year. Photo: ABC News/Greg Nelson
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Nicola Gobbo claims she did not know she was registered as a police informer in 1995 until it came out in the media.

She contacted Victoria Police in July that year to dob in her former boyfriend for drug trafficking and gun possession because the relationship had ended and she wanted him out of her house.

Ms Gobbo had earlier been charged with drug possession after leading police to a drug stash in the house she shared with the man.

“I wasn’t aware that I was registered by them until it came out in the media,” Ms Gobbo told a royal commission into police use of informers by video link on Tuesday.

“But I do have a recollection of seeking their intervention because I could not get him out of the house.”

The gangland lawyer was registered again in 2001 before her longest stint from 2005 to 2009.

Ms Gobbo has also claimed Victoria Police became so relaxed with using her as an informer on her clients, she felt it was “like a joke”.

“It became, not a joke, but the way they treated it was like a joke,” she said.

“I would say, basically ‘if you people don’t know what you’re doing I’ll end up dead and there will be a royal commission’.”

Ms Gobbo is giving evidence from an undisclosed location. Her image is only visible to Commissioner Margaret McMurdo after it was successfully argued her safety would be at risk if her face was shown publicly.

This is despite her appearing in a television interview in 2019.

Ms Gobbo took the oath on Tuesday morning, swearing to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth over the four days she’s scheduled to appear.

For a year others have speculated about how and why she came to turn on clients, including some of Melbourne’s best known underworld figures.

Her lawyer Rishi Nathwani kicked off the hearing by handing over a seven-page statement made by Ms Gobbo on Monday. It has not yet been released publicly.

Counsel assisting the inquiry, Chris Winneke QC, opened on Tuesday by questioning her knowledge about the role of police and lawyers.

“Do you understand that counsel retained to advise or defend persons charged with criminal conduct must provide independent advice and act in their client’s best interests within the law,” he asked.

“Yes,” Ms Gobbo replied.

Mr Winneke also pointed out with some irony to Ms Gobbo that her best subject as a law student at the University of Melbourne was legal ethics and professional conduct.

“I wouldn’t say I was a good student, Chris. I think it was more a case of putting my head down when the pressure was on,” Ms Gobbo said.

Ms Gobbo has also admitted the affidavit relied on when she applied to be admitted as a lawyer was misleading.

In the 1997 document, sworn on oath, Ms Gobbo set out details of her convictions for possession and use of cannabis and amphetamines and her relationship with an ex-boyfriend she dobbed in to police for drug possession.

But the document was clearly inconsistent with the facts, Mr Winneke said.

“Because of the material that’s not in it, it’s only part of the story,” she admitted.

She also wrote that she’d endeavour to be an upstanding member of the legal profession.

“Obviously, I have failed in that regard, because look where we are,” she said.

The hearing continues.

-AAP