15th March 2020
Perhaps one of the more vivid examples of serious, even catastrophic, mismanagement arose over the police informer named Gobbo but originally given the identity 3838,
It has become clear that very senior officers were closely involved in what the High Court has called “reprehensible conduct”; conduct that then Deputy Commissioner Sir Ken Jones and others warned contained the seeds for a Royal Commission; conduct that could conceivably cause people to be wrongfully sent to prison.
This mismanagement would be serious by any standard, but it is now obvious that the police “managers “have fought tooth and nail to cover it up at our cost.
The Director of Prosecutions (DPP) had put the police on notice that he intended to give several convicted prisoners information that might give them cause to appeal and to challenge the evidence on which they had been convicted, on the grounds of the lawyer/client relationship between them and 3838.
It seems apparent that the police had not disclosed to the prosecutors, in a timely manner, information that possibly should have been disclosed to certain accused persons pre-trial. It is also apparent that the DPP was doing his duty in trying to belatedly correct that situation.
Instead of recognising and supporting that dutiful disclosure by the DPP, the police chose to cover-up the whole scandalous affair through a series of protracted and very expensive lawsuits, culminating in the High Court’s ruling.
That is, the police tried to prevent the DPP from doing his duty in order to avoid exposure of their own failure to do theirs, all at the expense of the public purse, and inevitably distracting the DPP officers from their proper functions.
From an audit perspective, it might be regarded as ‘Misconduct in Public Office’ for police to knowingly breach the rules of legal procedure in pursuit of a conviction, no matter how serious the alleged crime.
From a wider social perspective, it was utterly disgraceful if the police conduct led to the wrongful conviction of one or more people otherwise entitled to be presumed innocent.
This is an attack on the legal framework of our democracy that has attracted substantial Public expenditure. Victorians are entitled to demand an Audit to ensure transparency.