Australia: Warning about Gobbo was 'career-limiting' in cut-throat police politics - PressFrom - Australia
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Australia Warning about Gobbo was 'career-limiting' in cut-throat police politics

06:26  10 october  2019
06:26  10 october  2019 Source:   theage.com.au

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Police initially thought she was "too overt in her desire" to give information, and had inappropriate relationships with police , but detectives Mr Winneke said Ms Gobbo was threatened by Williams associate Andrew "Benji" Veniamin after she represented their rival Lewis Moran in a bail application.

But throughout her turbulent career , Gobbo was prone to rash decisions. Less than a year later, she agreed to become registered police informer 3838. Police counter that she was near-impossible to manage or protect. Despite warnings about her safety, Gobbo refused to shed her blue-blood name.

a woman smiling for the camera: Nicola Gobbo, pictured here in April 2008.© Justin McManus Nicola Gobbo, pictured here in April 2008. It was “career-limiting” in the cut-throat world of police politics to tell the upper echelons of the force that their use of barrister and informer Nicola Gobbo could see her killed, a former senior policeman has told a public inquiry.

Tony Biggin, head of the unit who managed Ms Gobbo as Informer 3838, told the inquiry on Thursday he warned Victoria Police’s force command their plan to turn her witness against a suspected corrupt detective was dangerous.

Mr Biggin said despite the risk of a black mark against their careers, he encouraged Ms Gobbo's police handlers to put their concerns in writing in briefing note papers so there was a record.

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Nicola Gobbo ’s diary notes suggest police threatened to expose a drug charge from her university days and ruin her legal career unless she started working for them. A royal commission heard on Wednesday that officers pressured Ms Gobbo , then a young solicitor

“So if it all went completely pear-shaped there would be a record of not just conversations that had happened, but a physical record of what your views were?” counsel assisting the commission Andrew Woods asked.

“Correct, and let me just say these are career-limiting papers that [were] sent,” Mr Biggin said.

Mr Woods said it exposed a troubling culture in the force if raising concerns Ms Gobbo would be murdered was considered career-limiting.

“That shows a very, very deep problem with Victoria Police at the time,” he said.

a man wearing a suit and tie: Simon Overland.© Michael Clayton-Jones Simon Overland. Mr Biggin said in raising concerns with senior police he was not worried about his future in the force, as he had risen as far as he wanted to, but the careers of Ms Gobbo’s handlers.

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After decades of managing my own career and guiding other's, there's one really important thing you need to understand about your career: there are good mistakes and bad ones. Then there are mistakes that you should avoid like the plague because they are career limiting .

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“I was actually trying to ... get [the handlers] to promote themselves so they were the next future leaders of this organisation,” Mr Biggin said.

“I was concerned for them that by standing up to the organisation and saying ‘We think you’re making this wrong decision in this’, for them their careers may well have a black mark against them.”

The royal commission is investigating the force’s management of informers, particularly their controversial use of Ms Gobbo, a former criminal barrister who gave police information about her own clients.

Towards the end of her time as an underworld source Informer 3838, then assistant commissioner Simon Overland drove the push to turn her from informer to witness in the disastrous attempt to bring down suspected corrupt cop Paul Dale, the commission has heard.

Mr Biggin and the human source development unit were worried turning her into a witness, which meant she would have to give public evidence in the court case against Mr Dale, would expose her role as an informer.

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Politics is a set of activities associated with the governance of a country or an area. It involves making decisions that apply to group of members.

As home secretary May made mistake Thatcher never made in the 1980s and agreed to Treasury demand to cut police budgets.

In the briefing note, the handlers said Ms Gobbo could be murdered and her role as an informer being exposed would lead to a royal commission and “perceived unsafe verdicts”.

The note went to the Petra taskforce steering committee, which was overseeing the investigation into the murder of another police informer, Terence Hodson, and his wife Christine.

Mr Overland, current Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and current Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius were on the committee.

The committee didn’t heed the warning and Ms Gobbo was turned witness, secretly recording a conversation with Mr Dale that police alleged corroborated evidence from underworld figure Carl Williams that Mr Dale organised the hit on Hodson.

The charges against Mr Dale were withdrawn when Williams was murdered in prison and the precarious relationship police had with Ms Gobbo collapsed with her suing the force.

Nine reveals all-star line-up for Informer 3838 .
Ella Scott Lynch, Gyton Grantley and Robert Mammone are set to lead a stellar cast in the upcoming gangland drama Informer 3838. The mini-series is based on the events involving gangland lawyer turned police informer Nicola Gobbo, played by Love Child and Doctor Doctor star Ella.

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