‘Lawyer X’, Gangland Lawyer Halts Press Freedom for Herald Sun

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By Athena Yenko | April 2, 2014 1:58 PM EST

In what could be an odd behaviour, Victorian Police lodged a gag order against Herald Sun to stop the publication from its reporting of a case linked to a gangland lawyer dubbed as 'lawyer X'.

Herald Sun revealed in its article that Victoria Police sought an injunction from the Supreme Court to stop Herald Sun of providing the public information about Lawyer X. Herald Sun was clear that it has no intention of naming Lawyer X but the police continued with its court order.

Herald Sun noted that police push for its gag order despite clamour for a royal commission and despite the fact that information about Lawyer X can shape the Victorian politics.

Hence, Victorian Leader Daniel Andrews voice out his concern in an interview with 3AW, siding with Herald Sun.

"We cherish our free media in this state. And it's always a concern when the media is unable to publish a story they believe to be in the public interest. These are very serious issues. I don't think gag orders from courts that stop the media from reporting on these issues will give us the answers we need, so perhaps a royal commission is needed," Mr Andrews said.

For Mr Andrews, secrecy surrounding the case of Lawyer X was "dangerous".

"The reporting that has been done to this point, on your program and in other media, I think has served the public's interest. It's a big thing to gag the media from reporting such an important matter which as you say goes to the heart of how our criminal justice system works, the way our taxpayer money is spent."

He said that Lawyer X proved that court trials have loopholes as the case raised pertinent questions of "what impact (Lawyer X) has on trials that have already happened, what impact it might have on trials that haven't already occurred."

Mr Andrews think that the case of Lawyer X only means that it can be an absolute truth that "crooks were getting out of jail."

Herald Sun Editor Damon Johnston argued that the case of Lawyer X is of public interest, hence, Victoria deserves to know the truth.

"The police last night moved to prevent us from publishing important details that go to the heart of the public interest. We believe Victorians deserve to know the details of what we had intended to publish in today's newspaper."

Herald Sun vowed to continue with its investigation in its desire to publish its article, Mr Johnston said.

Who is Lawyer X?

In a report from The Australian, Lawyer X had reportedly provided the police about information that can incarcerate his client, gangland Carl Williams.

Essentially, Lawyer X posed as criminal lawyer for guilty crime offenders but served as police informant disclosing his clients 'confession' obtained from what supposedly an ethical client-lawyer relationship.

If indeed the allegation was true, then the justice system was busted, a nightmare in the law profession as told by Rob Stary, a high-profile criminal lawyer.

"If they have acted as registered informer since 1996 and proceeded to represent people, people will be asking, have I been compromised? Something needs to be said about the role of the police in all this. For years we have been calling for a royal commission. You have got to look at the impact of police corruption on the justice system and how things have been compromised," Mr Stary told The Australian.

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