Royal Commission Into Management Of Informants

Victoria calls royal commission into underworld lawyer scandal

Victoria calls royal commission into underworld lawyer scandal

It would mean these criminals could then appeal their convictions.

But the High Court, while ruling the lawyer's identity remain secret, said it should be disclosed in the interest of maintaining the integrity of the criminal justice system.

"There were a total of 386 people arrested and charged that I am specifically aware of based upon information I provided to Victoria Police, but there are probably more because as you would know, I did not always know the value or use of some of the intelligence that I was providing", Informer 3838 wrote in a letter to police command.

Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton acknowledged the findings but stressed the force has since implemented "substantial reforms" in the management of informers.

Recommended measures that may be taken to address any systemic or other failures in Victoria Police's processes for the recruitment, handling and management of human sources who are subject to legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege, and in the use of such human source information in the broader criminal justice system, including how those failures may be avoided in future.

He said it will be given a budget of A$7.5m (£4.3m, $5.4m) and will begin investigating early next year with the aim of releasing a final report in December.

A commissioner has not yet been announced, but Mr Andrews said the government hoped to have the "formalities" completed "in the next couple of weeks".

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"Whilst our practices of over a decade ago have come under prolonged and significant criticism, I believe the officers, both current and veteran, who managed the informer and worked on these investigations acted in good faith and they can expect to have my continuing support", he told reporters.

Andrews said that the royal commission would be conducted in such a way as to protect the safety of the informant, referred to in court documents as EF, and their family.

Andrews said he could not say whether the premier, attorney-general or minister at the time would have known about the informant, but said it was "highly unlikely".

The case came to light when court injunctions were lifted on Monday.

"Likewise, Victoria police were guilty of reprehensible conduct in knowingly encouraging EF to do as [they] did and were involved in sanctioning atrocious breaches of the sworn duty of every police officer to discharge all duties imposed on them faithfully and according to law without favour or affection, malice or ill-will".

The High Court of Australia was scathing of the way the cases were handled and said the appropriateness of each conviction must now be re-examined to maintain the integrity of the justice system.

As a result, the cases where EF had acted as defense lawyer could have been "corrupted in a manner which debased fundamental premises of the criminal justice system". "That's what the royal commission process is all about".

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