Lawyer X Nicola Gobbo has told an inquiry into her informing that she always knew it would end up in a royal commission, but she was not certain she would be alive to see it.
Gobbo also said she was once fascinated by the relationship between police and informers, something she has now said was “laughable in a horrendous way”.
The gangland lawyer-turned-police informer was being grilled under oath on Tuesday about her three stints of informing, though she claims she didn’t know she was registered at least once until it came out publicly last year.
Gobbo claimed Victoria police became too relaxed using her as an informer, treating it “like a joke”.
The supergrass lawyer was first registered as an informer in 1995 when she was a student and dobbed on her boyfriend for drug trafficking.
“I wasn’t aware that I was registered by them until it came out in the media,” Gobbo said.
She was no stranger to police use of informers. The relationship between officers and their sources was so interesting to her she started researching it as a Masters degree topic.
“Looking back on where we are now, it’s laughable in a horrendous way,” she told the hearing by videolink.
Despite giving a television interview in December, the commissioner, Margaret McMurdo, ordered on Monday that Gobbo’s face not be shown publicly for safety reasons.
Her second registration as an informer came in 1999 when she was introduced by the corrupt former drug squad detective Wayne Strawhorn to Jeff Pope, a detective who went on to become an assistant commissioner.
Gobbo described competing feelings for Strawhorn, who was convicted in 2006 of selling 2kg pseudoephedrine to underworld figure Mark Moran, before Moran’s 2000 murder.
“Part of me was petrified of the man because of the power I, at least, perceived that he had and the control he had over the drug squad,” she said.
The other part of her respected him because when he offered her clients the “deal of a lifetime”, he delivered.
Gobbo was recruited that time after claiming a legal colleague was laundering money. She had first gone to the Australian federal police and National Crime Authority with the allegations.
She admitted a “drunken interlude” and intimate Friday night relationships with an AFP officer who was investigating, but the relationship ended after it became clear federal police weren’t interested in her information.
Gobbo later went on to inform from 2005 to 2009, sharing information with police about clients including drug kingpin Tony Mokbel and underworld killer Carl Williams.
Gobbo took the oath on Tuesday morning, swearing to tell the whole truth.
The counsel assisting, Chris Winneke QC, began his grilling by challenging Gobbo’s previous evidence under oath relating to her 1997 Victorian Legal Admissions Board application to become a lawyer.
Gobbo admitted that document, outlining previous drug convictions, was “misleading”.
She also claimed in a letter to the board that she would endeavour to be an upstanding member of the legal profession.
“Obviously, I have failed in that regard, because look where we are,” she said.
The hearing continues.