Victoria Police has joined forces with Nicola Gobbo to savage the approach taken by the royal commission investigating the state’s worst legal scandal.

Victoria Police has defended its current and former officers, arguing that its failings were systemic rather than due to misconduct by individuals. In their final submissions, lawyers for Victoria Police describe Mr Winnekes approach as “erroneous”.
“As observed by many parties, the submissions advance a case as counsel would in a civil or criminal proceedings rather than analyse the evidence in the performance of the role of objective truth-seeker.
“That task is a critical part of the role of counsel assisting in helping to ensure that findings made by the Commissioner are safe and proper.”
Lawyers for the police officers who directly managed Ms Gobbo were also critical of Mr Winneke, arguing the royal commission should be “extremely reluctant” to make adverse findings against them.
Members of the now disbanded source development unit (SDU) were “extraordinarily hard working and dedicated” officers who believed their main priority was to avoid putting her at risk of death,” their lawyers said.
“Ultimately, it will be suggested that it is not open to find that members of the SDU may have engaged in improper conduct.”
Ms Gobbo continued to rail against Victoria Police, with whom she fell out bitterly 10 years ago.
“Even if the criticism of Ms Gobbo are accepted, it demonstrates how culpable Victoria Police were in choosing to register her as a human source, continuing that relationship for several years despite being well aware of her issues and, thereafter, seeking to turn her into a witness for their benefit, whilst at the same time resigning her life to one where she now exists with her children in expectation that she will one day be killed,” her lawyers wrote in their reply submissions published on Friday.
Ms Gobbo also took aim at Mr Winneke.
“All of the evidence in relation to a number of individuals demonstrates that counsel assisting have unfairly sought findings/comments against individuals, including Ms Gobbo, in flagrant breach of procedural fairness.”
Victorias DPP Kerri Judd, QC, rejected before the royal commission that senior officials in her office, including a now sitting Supreme Court judge, knew Ms Gobbo was a police informer and ran cases knowing they may have been tainted by her involvement.
Ms Judd dismissed as “inaccurate” an account in a sworn statement from former Victoria Police assistant commissioner Doug Fryer alleging that her predecessor as DPP, John Champion, knew Ms Gobbo was an informer a year before the Office of Public Prosecutions was officially notified in 2012.
The Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, previously known as the Australian Crime Commission, also sought to wash its hands of the Lawyer X saga. Lawyers for the ACIC submitted that it was not open to the royal commission to find, as Mr Winneke submitted, that the ACC knew Ms Gobbo was a police informant as early as 2006.
Mr Winnekes allegation was based on the evidence of retired superintendent Anthony Biggin who oversaw Ms Gobbos management as a registered human source.
Mr Winnekes reply submissions will be published next week.
Commissioner McMurdo is due to make her findings by November 30.
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Chip Le Grand is The Ages chief reporter. He writes about crime, sport and national affairs, with a particular focus on Melbourne.
Tammy Mills is the legal affairs reporter for The Age.
Chris Vedelago is an investigations reporter for The Age with a special interest in crime and justice.
Adam Cooper joined The Age in 2011 after a decade with AAP. Email or tweet Adam with your news tips.