Lawyer X unlikely to face royal commission

'Lawyer X' Nicola Gobbo says she is too unwell to front the royal commission into police informing.
'Lawyer X' Nicola Gobbo says she is too unwell to front the royal commission into police informing.

Nicola Gobbo says she's too unwell to give evidence at a royal commission stemming from the Lawyer X scandal, citing "mental anguish", chronic pain and a severe stress disorder.

But Commissioner Margaret McMurdo wants proof the former gangland lawyer-turned-police-informer is not feigning symptoms.

On Friday Ms Gobbo's barrister Rishi Nathwani submitted reports from psychologists, psychiatrists and pain experts, noting that her health woes were "unlikely to change in the foreseeable future" and it was "not conducive" for her to give evidence.

In February the commission issued Ms Gobbo with a notice to give evidence on the understanding she was keen to cooperate.

After hearing the latest submissions, Commissioner McMurdo gave Ms Gobbo a fortnight deadline to produce further medical reports, including if and when she would be well enough to give evidence.

Commissioner McMurdo noted one report suggested it might be "therapeutic" for her to relay her version of events.

She also asked for transcripts from the royal commission to be shown to medical practitioners to see if the details changed their opinions.

"In the past there is a recording of (Ms Gobbo) speaking to police officers in which she appears to state to police her willingness to feign medical symptoms in order to obtain an adjournment in court," Ms McMurdo said.

"I would like that transcript to be shown to the medical practitioners and to be informed as to whether that affects their opinion."

However Mr Nathwani said the reports covered Ms Gobbo's medical history from 2008, after the recordings were made, and she'd been diagnosed with a severe stress disorder and chronic neuropathic facial pain and headaches.

He said Ms Gobbo's "moderate to severe" levels of pain "impacted her life enormously" and meant she was too unwell to focus on the task of giving evidence.

The transcript Commissioner McMurdo wants to show Ms Gobbo's doctors involves a conversation between the informer and two of her handlers.

In the transcript, Ms Gobbo said "I've had a stroke" and "I reckon headache" when she wanted to adjourn a court hearing.

Also on Friday Inspector Dale Flynn - who worked with Ms Gobbo about the time of a major gangland arrest - agreed it was "drummed into detectives" to never "bend the rules" and to focus on finding the truth.

"There are probably things that if I had my time again, I would change," he said during the discussion on "ethical breaches" and Ms Gobbo's levels of pressure when representing a criminal who would give evidence against another of her clients.

The matter of whether Ms Gobbo gives evidence at the royal commission will be discussed again on October 4.

If she does give evidence, it is likely to be given by phone and not in person.

According to legislation, a person who fails to appear at a royal commission after being issued a notice to attend may be ordered to comply by the Supreme Court, face a penalty up to $1000 or spend up to six months in jail.

The commission will now break until its next round of hearings begin on September 30.

Australian Associated Press