Tony Mokbel approached police about a deal, the Lawyer X royal commission heard. (AAP: Julian Smith)
Convicted drug lord Tony Mokbel tried to broker a deal with police to end Melbourne’s bloody gangland war in 2004, according to the former boss of Victoria’s anti-gangland taskforce.
- Jim O’Brien said the offer of a deal came after police were arrested for drug offences
- He told the Lawyer X royal commission Mokbel offered up three of his associates
- Mr O’Brien told the commission how he got gangland figure Carl Williams to provide evidence against former policeman Paul Dale
The Royal Commission into the Management of Police Informants heard former detective inspector Jim O’Brien met with Mokbel who offered up Carl Williams, Assam Ahmed and another associate.
“Basically, what he was saying is everybody was negotiable, but not the family and that he controlled that,” Mr O’Brien told the commission on Tuesday.
He told the inquiry Mokbel called for the meeting and the offer was the three would do “short stints” in jail to end the drug war playing out across Melbourne.
“He wanted to get back to the status quo. We could all go back to doing what we do, ‘You can be corrupt and we’ll keep running the drug trade in Melbourne’,” Mr O’Brien said.
Mr O’Brien said from that day he understood Mokbel was a main player in the drug trade and decided to go after him.
The meeting followed a number of police figures being arrested for drug offences, including detectives Paul Dale and David Miechel over the 2003 robbery of Mokbel’s Dublin Street drug house in Oakleigh.
Jim O’Brien said he decided to go after Mokbel after the gangland boss offered to do a deal. (ABC News, file photo)
Mr O’Brien, who was then the head of the drug squad, said the arrests of Mr Dale and Miechel devastated the unit.
“People were distraught. A lot of people were walking around the office crying,” he said.
O’Brien details suspicions about former colleague Paul Dale
Mr O’Brien told the inquiry Mr Dale had called him at 9:32pm on the night of the Dublin Street robbery to tell him the police operation had been compromised.
He said Mr Dale told him his partner, Miechel, had been bitten by a dog and taken to hospital.
However, Miechel was bitten as he was arrested at the scene, trying to outrun the dog squad.
Mr O’Brien said he only learnt about that later on.
“He bashed the dog handler with a torch and was bitten by a police dog,” he said.
“Naturally suspicious why Dale was telling me what he did, from that moment on I had reason not to believe him,” he explained to the inquiry.
Miechel was convicted over the burglary.
His co-accused Terence Hodson, who had agreed to testify against Mr Dale, was murdered in 2004 before he could give evidence.
O’Brien got Carl Williams statement through father
Mr O’Brien later approached Williams in prison to get a statement implicating Dale in Hodson’s murder.
Mr O’Brien told the commission he got to Williams through his father, George.
“Do you want to go to your death with your kid never seeing the light of day again or do you want to get him to talk to us?” he said he asked.
George Williams had already had a number of heart attacks by then.
In April 2007, Williams made a statement against Dale, stating the detective had approached him to organise Hodson’s murder.
Mr Dale has always denied any involvement in the drug house burglary and the Hodson killings.
The murder charge against him was dropped after Williams was killed in prison.
The royal commission is delving into Victoria Police’s use of gangland defence lawyer Nicola Gobbo as a human source, between 1995 and 2009.
The use of Ms Gobbo as a police informer led to the quashing of one gangland conviction, with many more in doubt.