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Explained: The legal bombshell that could put convicted criminals back on the street

Tom Elliott
Article image for Explained: The legal bombshell that could put convicted criminals back on the street

More than 600 convictions for hundreds of Victorian criminals could be thrown out over their dealings with a high-profile Melbourne gangland lawyer.

Fresh details of the legal bombshell were revealed this morning after the High Court lifted suppression orders preventing making the matter public.


  • A criminal lawyer acting in several high-profile cases was informing police at the same time
  • The lawyer was used in the police force’s desperate bid to stop the Gangland war
  • The Director of Public Prosecutions will send 631 notices to criminals who were represented or had dealings with the lawyer
  • The notices will inform the criminals that there may be doubt over their convictions

“It has cost millions and millions (of dollars) already and it will (cost) millions and millions more, and some very high-profile figures will be announcing cases to test the evidence that was put against them.”
– Herald Sun reporter Anthony Dowsley

Click PLAY to hear Neil Mitchell work through the details with Herald Sun crime reporter Anthony Dowsley

“It goes to the very highest level (of the police force),” Dowsley said.

“Such was the informing that many police became aware of what was happening and it will be part of what we do going forward, finding out which judicial figures, or government departments may have known or clicked that this was going on.

“It will be discussed by cabinet; from there I think Victoria Police will take some action and there may be some kind of new court established to deal with it.”

“You can’t wear two hats in the courtroom, in simple terms.”
– Anthony Dowsley

One of Victoria’s highest profile lawyers Justin Quill, from MacPherson Kelley Lawyers, told Neil Mitchell it’s an “embarrassing” day for Victoria, and said “heads should roll”.

“This is an outrageous attack on our judicial system,” Quill said.

“The people who made the decision or decisions to allow this conduct to occur, they ought to be held to account.

“Hopefully, as the saying goes, heads should roll.”

Quill said Victoria’s legal system will feel the toll far beyond the impacted cases.

“Just think of the money, the time — this will push other cases (back), the backlog will increase.

“The impact this will have on the judicial system in Victoria is extraordinary.

“I suspect this will be a bit of a world first, I would imagine other jurisdictions will be looking at us and shaking their heads.

“It’s a bit embarrassing really, to be a Victorian involved in the judicial system today.”

Click PLAY to hear more from Justin Quill

Tom Elliott