Nicola Gobbo may be forced to front royal commission
Nicola Gobbo's double dealings as both a lawyer and police informer saw a man acquitted of murder after a decade behind bars and she may be forced to show up at the royal commission she prompted.
The woman known as Lawyer X won't have to front up to the multi-million dollar inquiry to explain herself yet, but Commissioner Margaret McMurdo has refused to rule out the possibility she might be forced to give evidence as the inquiry continues.
She's demanded Ms Gobbo make a written statement to the commission by November 18 ahead of a fresh decision later that month on whether her physical and mental health conditions should prevent her from giving evidence.
Ms McMurdo said Ms Gobbo had been represented by barristers and solicitors "at community expense" and despite being offered every consideration she had still not made a statement.
The commission had arranged for Ms Gobbo to give evidence over the phone "because of the well-known and well publicised and very real risk to her safety, and for other practical reasons", she said.
But it's been revealed Ms Gobbo has exhibited symptoms of a major depressive disorder while a psychologist reported in April she was in a "vicious cycle of despair and emotional paralysis".
She has also been treated for acute stress and anxiety and exhibited signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Her barrister Rishi Nathwani said reports from a psychologist and pain specialist both concluded "she's not in a state to give evidence as it stands" and "she has not feigned illness or malingered".
A psychologist reported Ms Gobbo's physical and intellectual function had deteriorated and she was not responding to medication.
Ms McMurdo said she was inclined to accept Ms Gobbo probably was suffering those conditions, but they were not reasonable excuses for not appearing.
"Especially given the fact the commission is willing to take her evidence by telephone and in short bursts of two hours to accommodate her medical condition, and also has the power to significantly limit the length and nature of cross examination," she said.
Mr Nathwani said the commissioner was aware Ms Gobbo "has always been keen to assist as best she can", prompting interjection from Ms McMurdo.
"I'm not aware of that. I've been told that. There is a difference Mr Nathwani."
Mr Nathwani said Ms Gobbo's legal team would "do as best we can, given her position, to provide a statement.
"As you are aware we have, to date, attempted to do so and there has been some progress in relation to one of the statements you requested," he said.
The hearings are continuing with evidence from senior policeman, Inspector Dale Flynn.