Nevertheless, it’s not identified if recommendation was sought from Mr Costigan concerning the taskforce’s use of Informer 3838, a feminine barrister who turned police informer.
Operation Briars was launched after allegations emerged that two law enforcement officials, David Waters and Peter Lalor, have been concerned within the 2003 capturing loss of life of male prostitute Shane Chartres-Abbott.
Chartres-Abbott, nicknamed the Vampire Gigolo, was killed the day earlier than he was on account of stand trial for raping and biting off the tongue of a lady, amid claims he was threatening to show corrupt relationships with police.
Informer 3838 had been utilized by the taskforce to elicit info from Mr Waters about his alleged involvement within the homicide plot.
Mr Cornelius, Mr Ashton and Mr Overland recognised the potential for a political scandal and tried to mitigate the dangers.
“We acknowledged across the desk, if this factor goes horribly unsuitable for us and we do discover ourselves in territory the place we’d have to concede that there must be a royal fee, then Frank Costigan could be a useful individual,” mentioned Mr Cornelius in a sworn affidavit from November 2007.
“We felt we may belief Frank due to his long-standing relationship with policing,” Assistant Commissioner Cornelius mentioned.
The advisory committee additionally formulated a plan to protect the previous Brumby authorities from any political fallout.
“Our view was we might delay briefing the federal government concerning the matter till the final potential minute, if there was a catastrophic leak, as a result of we definitely didn’t need to expose authorities to subsequent allegations of that there was political involvement within the factor,” Mr Cornelius mentioned.
Mr Ashton, in his former function as assistant director of the Workplace of Police Integrity, was concerned within the Briars investigation from its inception in 2007.
He briefed Assistant Commissioner Cornelius on the explosive allegations that two law enforcement officials assisted in offering a hitman with Chartres-Abbott’s deal with in Reservoir.
Mr Ashton was additionally briefed on conferences by the advisory group, in accordance with an affidavit by former chief commissioner Simon Overland.
Former Police Affiliation secretary Paul Mullett was additionally implicated in a series of leaks in a associated investigation often known as Operation Diana and charged with deceptive the OPI in 2008.
A yr later, the case in opposition to Mullett collapsed.
Regardless of the five-year Briars investigation, which price an estimated $30 million, Mr Waters and Mr Lalor have been by no means charged with any legal offences.
Mr Waters first engaged the barrister later often known as Informer 3838 when required to make a sworn assertion in 2004 in opposition to one other officer who was the topic of a separate corruption investigation.
He says he appointed her once more over issues he could be arrested by the Briars taskforce in 2007.
However Mr Waters grew to become suspicious when she primed him for particulars throughout common conferences on the Metropolitan Resort and Wheat restaurant in Melbourne’s courtroom precinct.
“She was being fed strains by the Briars investigators to elicit info that might incriminate me. I assumed I used to be having a dialogue with my lawyer that was lined by privilege, however there isn’t any doubt she was relaying info again to the taskforce,” Mr Waters advised The Age on Monday.
Mr Waters claimed the conduct may quantity to perverting the course of justice by the barrister and the officers who induced her to change into an informer.
Mr Mullett claims Informer 3838 was used as an agent provocateur within the Briars investigation, however urged the royal fee to broaden its phrases of reference to additionally look at Operation Diana and the dearth of independence between Victoria Police and the previous OPI.
Mr Mullett claims the state’s most senior officers have been conscious of the potential issues of utilizing a barrister as an informer, however have been determined to say a scalp to advance their careers.
Final week, Premier Daniel Andrews introduced a royal fee into mismanagement of a number of high-profile gangland investigations linked to the usage of informer 3838.
The announcement adopted withering criticism by the Excessive Court docket of Australia, which described the police conduct in its use of the informer to safe quite a few main legal convictions as “reprehensible”.
On the time Commissioner Ashton mentioned he believed the police concerned acted in good religion, however wouldn’t remark additional following the announcement of a royal fee.
Chris Vedelago is an investigative journalist with a particular curiosity in crime and justice.