Convicted wife killer tries to use revelation that Nicola Gobbo worked as a police informant to demand a new investigation into his case, alleging he lost his murder trial in 1999 due to betrayal when she briefly represented him after his arrest
On Wednesday, the Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants released statements from a number of former clients who allege they were the victims of miscarriages of justice due to the former’s involvement. lawyer in their affairs
The statements, which were filed in early 2019, shortly after the royal commission’s announcement, include numerous criminals such as Zlate Cvetanovski, Francesco Madafferi and others whose cases have since been reviewed by investigation or are challenged by legal remedies against their convictions
Others were written by former clients who claimed to have been the victims of miscarriages of justice simply because Ms Gobbo was now known to have cooperated with the police while representing them, and they were subsequently convicted.
Among them, Tony Kellisar, who strangled his wife Svetlana Podgoyetsky in 1997 and was sentenced to 22 years in prison Ms Gobbo appeared for Kellisar at a hearing before the Magistrates Court after his arrest in November 1997 He claims to have provided Ms Gobbo and another lawyer with information and instructions which allegedly proved his wife’s death was accidental
« I told Nicola that I wanted her to get a file [redacted] to demonstrate the nature of the difficulties in my marriage. I also raised other issues that could have been used at trial as a cause of long term trauma leading to provocation and loss of self-control in the car, ”he wrote to the royal commission
Ms Gobbo only represented Kellisar for a brief period, and he was represented by various attorneys during his murder trial in the Supreme Court in 1999
Kellisar pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but jury found him guilty of murder
In a scathing rebuke when it dismissed her appeal, the Court of Appeal said that given the « premeditated and carefully planned murder » of his wife, Kellisar should « consider himself lucky not to serve a life sentence «
But since learning about Ms Gobbo’s past, Kellisar has alleged to the royal commission that his former lawyer poisoned his defense by leaking information to the media and the police. He also claims Ms Gobbo’s other attorney had a pre-existing relationship with his wife’s family, which led to Kellisar firing them both.
“I sincerely believe that Nicola compromised my case and my chance to prove that I had no intention of murdering my wife,” he wrote “Therefore, I believe the police may have anticipated and counter my defense and my evidence with new and full of statements of opinion from my in-laws »
Kellisar provided no evidence to support his claims, but told the royal commission he was « happy to provide this assistance »
While Ms Gobbo had occasionally worked as a police informant since the mid-1990s, no public royal commission documents give any weight or validity to Kellisar’s claims
The royal commission heard that Ms Gobbo’s information focused on clients or associates involved in organized criminal activity such as drug trafficking, money laundering and underworld shootings or murders against remuneration
The investigation identified 124 criminal convictions marred by Ms Gobbo’s double life as a lawyer turned informant, although the identities of most have been kept under wraps at the request of the police or those concerned
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Chris Vedelago is an investigative reporter for The Age with a particular interest in crime and justice
World News – UA – Wife killer uses Gobbo’s revelations to claim he was a victim of injustice
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