Lawyer X: 1297 people might be affected

The royal commission into the use of police informer Nicola Gobbo will wrap up on Friday.
The royal commission into the use of police informer Nicola Gobbo will wrap up on Friday.

Supergrass informer Nicola Gobbo's snitching to police might have affected the cases of nearly 1300 clients or others who went to her for legal advice.

The revelation came on the final day of a more than year long royal commission into Victoria Police's use of the gangland barrister to bring down underworld crooks.

Over 127 days the inquiry has heard evidence from more than 80 people, including Lawyer X herself and the senior police who signed off on her tips.

Over three periods from 1995 until 2009 Ms Gobbo was registered as a secret informer - her third stint, at the height of Melbourne's gangland wars, led to her officially promoted to "supergrass" status.

Her information was used to orchestrate the arrests and convictions of drug cooks, traffickers, kingpins including Tony Mokbel and killers such as Carl Williams.

On Friday, Victoria Police barrister Saul Holt revealed 1297 cases have so far been identified as "requiring investigation" to determine if the outcomes had been tainted by her improper information.

Those people were either legally represented by Ms Gobbo or received legal advice from her.

Victorian prosecutors have officially notified 32 people about concern over their convictions, while commonwealth prosecutors have alerted 12.

Four appeals are underway while one conviction has already been overturned - Faruk Orman was freed from prison last year, acquitted of murder.

Ms Gobbo admitted when she gave evidence earlier this month that at times she acted in the interests of police instead of her clients.

"Was I accumulating information and, on one level, trying to impress people? Yes, I was," she told the royal commission during an earlier hearing.

"Do I regret it now? Yes. Every day."

A theme of noble cause corruption has been investigated through the hearings - where the end justifies the means.

Asked on Friday about the concept, Inspector John Nolan said short-circuiting an investigation might mean the right outcome initially, "but it's all going to come undone".

He said police were under pressure from bereaved relatives and media demanding a resolution to Melbourne's gangland wars.

"You've got people getting killed at a level that we'd never seen before in Melbourne, so I understand why those dynamics were at play ... but (those actions) can't be justified," he said.

He rejected Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton's assessment that the use of Ms Gobbo as an informer passed the pub test because of difficulties at the time.

"It's either corrupt or it's not, and if it's corrupt, it's not on," Mr Nolan said.

Victoria Police has refused to say whether any current informers owe legal obligations of confidentiality or privilege, but Commissioner Margaret McMurdo revealed a targeted audit of files involving such people had been carried out during the inquiry.

In her closing remarks, Ms McMurdo said the inquiry needed to restore public confidence in Victoria's criminal justice system.

Investigations into "individual and institutional shortcomings" and works to ensure "any past shortcomings are not repeated" will continue in the coming months, she said.

A series of policy-focused public hearings will be held in April.

Ms McMurdo is due to hand down a report on her findings on July 1.

Australian Associated Press