High Court judge Geoffrey Nettle appointed Lawyer X investigator

High Court judge Geoffrey Nettle has been appointed to investigate whether charges will be laid against police officers involved in the Lawyer X scandal.

Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes made the announcement on Wednesday morning.

High Court judge Geoffrey Nettle

Justice Nettle was one of seven judges of the High Court who handed down a searing 2018 decision that described as reprehensible the use of former barrister Nicola Gobbo as a police informer against her own clients.

Justice Nettle has been on the High Court bench for more than five years after serving as both a trial and appellate judge in the Victorian Supreme Court and Court of Appeal.

In 2019, he was appointed a Companion of the Order of Australia for eminent service to the judiciary, the law, criminal and civil appeal reform, legal education and professional standards.

His role as special investigator will be to assess whether criminal or disciplinary charges against police are warranted, as well as potential charges against Ms Gobbo.

Former criminal barrister turned police informer Nicola Gobbo also known as 3838 or Lawyer XCredit:The Age

“Justice Nettle’s extensive and wide-ranging experience at the highest levels of the legal system will ensure a comprehensive, independent and fair investigation is complete into these matters,” Ms Symes said in a statement.

Justice Nettle’s High Court decision was ground-breaking in that it smashed the wall of suppression orders and secrets that had kept Ms Gobbo’s identity a secret, paving the way for prosecutors to notify her clients – including some of the country’s most notorious underworld figures – that their lawyer had turned police source.

The judgment also led to Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews establishing a royal commission into the scandal.

The commission ran 127 days of hearings and delivered a 1000-page report of which an independent special investigator was a key recommendation.

More to come.

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