Killer client to sue ‘snitch’ Lawyer X
A gangland killer defended by "treacherous snitch" Nicola Gobbo is suing her.
The man is the first former client to sue the barrister over breach of contract, which could lead to an avalanche of claims if successful.
The plaintiff can't be named for legal reasons but has multiple convictions including for manslaughter.
Gobbo represented the man over several charges, including a high-profile drug bust involving alleged corrupt police.
The barrister, known as Lawyer X, failed to tell him she had a sexual relationship with one of his co-accused, a police officer whom she also gave legal advice.
And in a later murder case, Gobbo took on his case while acting as a police informer - known to police as human source 3838.
The gangland figure has been on parole after serving more than a decade behind bars.
He gave evidence at the Lawyer X Royal Commission earlier this year.
It is not known to what extent, if any, she informed on him.
The Sunday Herald Sun understands the writ, which was set to be filed this week, could provoke the underworld's major players to also begin legal action against her.
Underworld identity Faruk Orman, who was released from prison in July as a result of Gobbo's informing, is also planning to sue over the 12 years he served in jail.
But his case is likely to be aimed at Victoria Police rather than Gobbo herself.
During the killer's evidence to the Royal Commission, he said: "Let me tell you something, if I had any idea about Nicola Gobbo having inappropriate dealings with police I would have sacked her on the spot."
The Sunday Herald Sun has contacted the former underworld figure who confirmed he is taking legal action.
"We're launching. It's being prepared now," he said.
"I think I'm the first."
Gobbo would occasionally visit the man while he was in prison.
"That's treacherous knowing what she has done," he said.
The legal action will seek to reclaim about $90,000 in fees. It will also pursue Gobbo for exemplary damages and breach of contract.
Legal experts say if it can be proven the gangland figure served time in prison as a direct result of Gobbo's informing, he could be entitled to a six-figure sum.
If the man's case succeeds it could release a flood of claims.
The Legal Professional Uniform Law (Victoria) requires all lawyers to be covered by professional indemnity insurance.
One observer estimated Gobbo acted for up to 200 clients between 2005 and 2012.
"It'll send the insurance company broke," he quipped.
The Office of Public Prosecutions' database has Gobbo appearing on 204 separate hearings in matters prosecuted by the OPP on behalf of 143 separate accused persons.
Gobbo also gave legal advice and negotiated deals on behalf of clients without formally appearing, resulting in guilty pleas.
AUSTRALIA'S GANGLAND KINGPINS
THE OLD GUARD
ROBERT (BOB) TRIMBOLE
The most famous Australian mafia figure was wanted over the disappearance of Griffith, NSW, politician Donald Mackay in 1977.
He died in Spain in 1987 while on the run from Australian law enforcement, aged 56.
His family were from Plati, Calabria. His only conviction was for failing to file tax returns.
Griffith mafia figure Tony Sergi was also accused of being involved in Donald Mackay's disappearance and suspected murder.
He was linked to the Riverina marijuana trade and was a key player in setting up the mafia in Australia in the 1970s.
He died of natural causes, aged 82, in 2017.
ROSARIO "ROSS" GANGEMI
Named in secretly-recorded police tapes as a Calabrian mafia boss, accused of being involved in corruption at Melbourne markets for 25 years.
Died in 2008 of natural causes, aged 86.
THE YOUNG GUNS
Sydney crime figure whose family was linked to the mafia.
Executed in 2016 amid rumours he was informing to the Australian crime authorities.
His grandfather and cousin were also murdered.
Convicted drug dealer accused of mafia links.
He announced this week he would challenge his 12-year jail sentence over extortion, drug dealing and gun charges because his lawyer Joe "Pino" Acquaro was a police informer.
Likely to be deported on his release.
JOE "PINO" ACQUARO
Melbourne mafia lawyer killed in 2016 near his gelato bar in Lygon St.
Vincent Crupi has been charged with his murder.