Roberta Williams and Carl Williams. Picture: Supplied
Roberta Williams and Carl Williams. Picture: Supplied

Roberta Williams: Lawyer X told Carl to flee overseas

Lawyer X warned Carl Williams he should flee overseas as he was about to face murder charges, but wife Roberta convinced him to stay.

She says that in 2004, after a meeting with Lawyer X, Williams told her the lawyer had "said that I should f--- off overseas". He then said: "I'm going to get pinched. What should I stay here for?"

But Roberta Williams, who says she had then been unaware of the extent of his criminality, talked him out of absconding.

Williams was ultimately bashed to death with an exercise bike stem in Barwon jail, where he was serving a 35-year sentence for four murders.

News Corp Australia can also reveal:

CHIEF Commissioner Graham Ashton sat on two steering committees in which Lawyer X was used in stings and knew she was an informer, but was not aware that she was informing on her clients.

LAWYER X's police handlers raised concerns with their bosses about the legality of using her, but were ordered to push ahead.

ONE police source has said of the Lawyer X operation: "Were we pushing the boundaries? You f---ing betcha we were!"

SENIOR legal figures will be questioned over their knowledge of Victoria Police's use of Lawyer X.

THE Victorian Government Solicitor's Office is alleged to have known of and advised police about their use of Lawyer X.

Insiders say the management team led by former top cop Simon Overland was a "steering committee without a steering wheel".

Roberta Williams and Carl Williams. Picture: Supplied
Roberta Williams and Carl Williams. Picture: Supplied

 

Sources say that senior police knew the Lawyer X scheme was "pushing the envelope", adding that "Overland drove it".

"Their ambition got in the way of making sound investigative decisions. There were moments when we should have disengaged, but we didn't because we weren't allowed to," one says.

"There were a number of times when we would think, wow, is this a conspiracy to pervert? We would go and get advice. It was all covered."

One insider said that when a senior officer was overheard decrying the "values" of Detective Senior Sergeant Mark Caulfield, who helped set up the unit which managed all informers, it galvanised disdain in the ranks for command decisions regarding Lawyer X.

It was felt that Det. Sen-Sgt Caulfield, who won the Australia Police Medal in 2011 and gained international recognition for the undercover infiltration of a bikie gang, had been scapegoated for bad judgments by superiors. Resentment over criticisms of his performance festered.

He is expected to appear at the royal commission.

Simon Overland.
Simon Overland.

Mr Overland was regularly briefed on the activities of Lawyer X, but only referred to her as Informer 3838 and didn't reveal her true identity, one senior police officer said.

Sources say this supports the view that Mr Overland, while assistant commissioner for crime, took a decision - unusual for such a senior commander - to have a hands-on role in managing Lawyer X.

It can also be revealed that Tony Mokbel was "elated" by Monday's announcement that letters would be sent to 20 criminals, including himself, alerting them that the use by police of Lawyer X as a secret informer could have undermined their convictions.

Mokbel, who has already appealed against his 22-year jail sentence for drug trafficking owing to the scandal, had hoped to be out in four years, but now thinks he could be free within months, sources say.

 

Tony Mokbel is said to have been “elated” that letters would be sent to 20 criminals, including himself, alerting them that police use of Lawyer X as a secret informer could have undermined their convictions. Picture: AP/Thanassis Stavrakis
Tony Mokbel is said to have been “elated” that letters would be sent to 20 criminals, including himself, alerting them that police use of Lawyer X as a secret informer could have undermined their convictions. Picture: AP/Thanassis Stavrakis

Barwon Prison was a hotbed of wild speculation on Monday. Some prisoners quizzed their lawyers over whether they were Lawyer X.

One household name who can't be identified was heard in a phone call, saying: "I'm f---ing outta here, darling."

Roberta Williams says she still blames herself for convincing her husband not to run.

She did not like Lawyer X, she says, but adds: "Everyone knew that (X) got information from police, the lawyers, the judges, whoever, and that information was always right."

So when Lawyer X told Williams he would be arrested, he believed her, she said.

Years later, in jail, he told her he should have gone when he could. By then, she agreed.

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Two commissioners from interstate are expected to head up the inquiry, due to start early next year, into the effect of the informer scheme on the course of justice.

The Lawyer X scandal was revealed by the Herald Sun in March 2014, but its scale has been revealed only with the lifting of suppression orders after the High Court allowed the Director of Public Prosecutions to send letters advising criminals of the scheme.

In addition to Mokbel, those expecting letters include members of his drug empire The Company, and major traffickers Rob Karam, Griffith Calabrian mafia boss Pasquale Barbaro and outlaw bikie gang head John Higgs.

Lawyer X has herself claimed her informing led to the arrest of, or charging of, at least 386 people. She was registered as an informer in 2005-09, but sources say she was an unofficial informer years earlier, and afterwards.

 

Carl Williams with then-wife Roberta.
Carl Williams with then-wife Roberta.


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