Mokbel denies exaggerating his connection to Gobbo
Tara Cosoleto |
Drug kingpin Tony Mokbel has denied he fabricated stories about a burner phone and a damaged computer to exaggerate his relationship with barrister-turned-informer Nicola Gobbo.
Mokbel told the Victorian Supreme Court gangland figure Carl Williams gave him the secret mobile in 2009 so he could call Ms Gobbo and other associates more privately while in jail.
He claimed on Thursday that the phone was confiscated by prison authorities in 2011 but there were no records of the seizure and he was never punished.
“I believe the only reason I wasn’t charged was because there was contact with Ms Gobbo … that’s only my opinion,” Mokbel said.
He also told the court he noted all of his conversations with Ms Gobbo on a computer in his prison cell, but that device was damaged during a routine prison audit in 2015.
Office of Public Prosecutions’ David Glynn suggested Mokbel had made up the stories to portray his relationship with Ms Gobbo as being more extensive than it actually was.
Mokbel denied that was the case.
“That’s your opinion and I can tell you 100 per cent I was talking to her,” he said in his evidence.
“In my opinion, she was everything – she was an in-house counsel, she was a friend, she was everything.”
Ms Gobbo was registered as a Victoria Police informer between 1995 and 2010, providing information to detectives about her high-profile clients including Mokbel.
Mokbel is attempting to appeal the drug trafficking and incitement to import convictions he was sentenced for in 2012, arguing Ms Gobbo tainted his case.
In his evidence on Thursday, Mokbel claimed he continued to discuss his court hearings with Ms Gobbo between 2008 and 2010.
That was despite her telling him she could not act as his legal counsel in the drug trafficking matters due to conflicting interests and her poor health.
“She said if I need any legal advice, call me on the phone and ask me anything you want,” Mokbel told the court.
“I was really appreciative.”
Ms Gobbo told him she would represent him again in court for the two murder charges he was facing once her health improved, Mokbel said.
The drug kingpin was originally charged over the 2003 murder of Michael Marshall and the 2004 killing of Lewis Moran, but the charges did not proceed.
He did plead guilty to the drug trafficking and importation charges and was sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2012.
The sentence was cut to 26 years with a non-parole period of 20 years following a Court of Appeal decision in 2023.
Mokbel is challenging the convictions but before a substantive appeal hearing can start, Justice Elizabeth Fullerton needs to rule on several legal questions.
The justice has been brought in from NSW to oversee the determination hearings, which are expected to run for 12 weeks.AAP