National

Lawyer X, Gatto on underworld hit list

By AAP Newswire

Turncoat lawyer Nicola Gobbo claimed she was featured alongside high profile crooks on an underworld hit-list in a tip to police two years after officers were ordered to stop accepting her intel.

Former Bandidos enforcer Toby Mitchell, underworld figure Mick Gatto and big-time ecstasy importer John Higgs also featured on the list of targets Ms Gobbo told police about in 2012.

The woman known as Lawyer X "wasn't overly concerned" about the list but thought she should tell someone, a royal commission into police use of informers has heard.

She had received death threats before, including bullets in the mail and phone calls saying she'd be "shot and splattered", and her car had been firebombed.

The latest threat was passed to a handler known as Officer Richards in one of a series of contacts in January and February 2012.

Officer Richards took over handling Ms Gobbo from the source management unit's then inspector, John O'Connor who made a seemingly successful attempt to limit her desire to give police information.

"I wasn't going to talk to him anyway, he's - I mean, that bloke had no clue," she said in a recorded call with Mr Richards.

"And it - I'm not being critical of him, it's not his fault. He didn't have a clue. He just drew the short straw - 'here's a shit sandwich, you deal with it'," she said.

Mr Winneke said Ms Gobbo appeared excited to reconnect with handlers, talking quite fondly about her history with their unit.

It was only revealed through the royal commission that Victoria Police had continued to receive tips from Ms Gobbo until March 2012.

It wasordered by then-chief commissioner Simon Overland in April 2010 that officers stop accepting and acting upon information received from the criminal barrister, who was at that stage suing the force.

Mr Overland is expected to testify to the inquiry before Christmas, while his predecessor Christine Nixon and current chief commissioner Graham Ashton are to appear in the coming weeks.

Mr Ashton on Tuesday stood by his refusal to leave the top job over the Lawyer X scandal.

He was responding to comments by former chief crown prosecutor Gavin Silbert on the ABC's 4 Corners program that top brass who knew and sanctioned what was happening were "guilty of terrible breaches of duty and extraordinarily unethical behaviour".

Mr Ashton was then head of the Office of Police Integrity and knew about the use of Ms Gobbo as an informer.

"Simply knowing about the existence of an informer isn't of itself a breach of the law, nor was it a breach of policy at the time," Mr Ashton told 3AW on Tuesday.

"I've always said in relation to myself, I've done nothing wrong and I maintain that position."