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Sly of the Underworld: Why Nicola Gobbo really became an informer

3AW Breakfast
Article image for Sly of the Underworld: Why Nicola Gobbo really became an informer

Image: Joe Armao/The Age

The Royal Commission into Management of Police Informants has delivered its interim report, and the sheer size of the task at hand has become apparent, with more than 50,000 documents requested by the commission.

Sly said the big question is what motivates people to become informants.

“The real big question is why did Nicola Gobbo do it?

“Why would somebody who is earning a fortune in criminal law, who has had a stroke, take this dangerous path of becoming a police informer?”

Ms Gobbo has said she became an informer because she was scared of underworld kingpin Tony Mokbel, but Sly said that explanation doesn’t add up.

“I would have thought, if you were frightened of Tony Mokbel, what you would do was turn around and maybe just give up the criminal law and go into commercial law,” he said.

Sly said Ms Gobbo always said she was driven to become an informer by a  selfless desire to expose criminals and corruption, but she herself was part of that criminal conspiracy.

According to Sly there are four reasons people turn informer:

  1. They’re co-conspirators and they want to save their bacon.
  2. There’s a big reward and they want to get the bacon
  3. Revenge because they hate the other people in the gang
  4. Because they’re actually police groupies and they want to ingratiate themselves with police.

“It’s now pretty clear that Nicola was all four of those. Every one of those categories,” he told 3AW’s Kate and Quarters.

Sly said Attorney-General Jill Hennessy’s decision to send the case of gangland driver, Faruk Orman, to the Court of Appeal before the end of the royal commission is very significant.

“It’s very telling and very brave, because it would have been very easy to say ‘let the royal commission run its race and then we’ll deal with it,” he said.

“Clearly there’s fairly compelling evidence there regarding a miscarriage of justice.”

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