National

Police say Lawyer X not our responsibility

By AAP Newswire

Dozens of police knew about lawyer Nicola Gobbo's dodgy double dealings but one after another, they're claiming it wasn't their job to do anything to stop it.

In emails, reports, briefings and meetings, officers raised concerns about the turncoat lawyer representing clients whose arrest she helped orchestrate.

There was an eight-point analysis presented to senior officers - including former chief commissioner Simon Overland - warning the force could be on track for a royal commission and convictions might be at risk.

They were right - and now that royal commission has heard officer after officer claim ultimate responsibility for their concerns rested higher up the chain of command.

A man known as Officer Richards was quizzed about the analysis on Monday, becoming the latest in a string of junior officers to distance themselves from responsibility.

He knew people could be behind bars, wrongly convicted because of Ms Gobbo's involvement.

After a decade behind bars Faruk Orman had his conviction for murder quashed by the Court of Appeal after it was determined Ms Gobbo's role caused a significant miscarriage of justice.

"Do you accept that it would have been entirely appropriate for you to make every endeavour to ensure that did not occur," counsel assisting the commission Chris Winneke QC asked.

"I don't take on the whole responsibility of Victoria Police to do that, no," Mr Richards replied.

It was for "command to make a decision well above myself," he said.

Another handler, known as Sandy White, told the inquiry he couldn't "leapfrog" over his inspector with any concerns, while even current assistant commissioner Neil Paterson said it was "absolutely an assumption" on his part that the upper echelon of Victoria Police knew.

The force's top brass did know.

Then-assistant commissioner Mr Overland knew in 2006 Ms Gobbo was a police informer, snitching on her own clients. He wanted to turn her into a police witness.

Current chief commissioner Graham Ashton also knew back then, when he headed the independent Office of Police Integrity, which had been set up in 2004 to stamp out police corruption.

Nothing has been revealed publicly about what Christine Nixon knew when chief commissioner, preceding Mr Overland.

Both have provided formal statements to the inquiry and could give evidence before the end of the year.

Victoria Police on Monday refused to comment on whether its process for reporting concerns had changed or not.

It also refused to comment on delays in publicly releasing documents, including the report outlining officers' concerns, which is one of nearly 350 caught up in a Victoria Police process to remove anything the force says is not in the public interest.

There's a growing list of 51 statements, more than 150 exhibits and 145 informer contact reports - detailing Ms Gobbo's dealings with handlers - still pending, according to the commission.