In Part 1, we focused on the royal commission’s findings about Victoria Police, but of course Nicola Gobbo’s brazenness in the affair is just as breathtaking. Gobbo’s involvement with police began in 1993, when she was present when police raided her boyfriend’s home in Carlton VIC, from which he was selling drugs. Gobbo pointed police to his stash hidden in a laundry vent, and met with police periodically over the following two years. No doubt in part thanks to her cooperation, she ultimately received a charge of drug possession without criminal conviction and was able to go on to practice law.
Fresh out of law school, Gobbo went on to give information to police about her employer, a solicitor, from 1997 – 99. By the early 2000s Gobbo had a wide network of police contacts, and went on to inform again in the gangland prosecutions the mid-2000s.
Gobbo was an active police collaborator during this period. In one instance highlighted by the commission, Gobbo drew on information from a client to inform police the exact shipment in which they would find a large quantity of MDMA. The find ultimately led to 32 prosecutions, and Gobbo served as the defence lawyer in 10 of them. This was not the only instance in which information Gobbo took from a client led to the arrest of an associate.
In many instances, Gobbo also actively encouraged her clients to “roll” on their associates and give information to the police in exchange for a reduced sentence. She also instructed them to change their story to strengthen the police case against their associates. Gobbo then proceeded to “defend” the associate who had unknowingly been given up by her preceding client, who she again encouraged to “roll,” and so on along the chain.
According to a report in The Saturday Paper, Gobbo has presented herself as a victim of circumstances during this period, and as a weak and naive person eager for approval. Yet the royal commission found she was in fact “proactive and energetic” in her duplicity.
In the prosecution of Tony Mokbel, Gobbo provided a range of information. This included information about his properties, addresses and finances as well as operational details, such as cars and code names used, and even the tactics being pursued by his legal defence team.
The picture painted by the report is that event were the product of both the bizarreness of Gobbo as a person, as well as the sense of impunity within Victoria Police.