FORMER detective and Wangaratta businessman Paul Dale wants senior Victorian police eventually charged over the use of a gangland barrister as a police informer.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews quickly announced a Royal Commission into the legal fiasco after the High Court slammed the police’s actions in using an underworld lawyer for information on her clients as “appalling”.
“One minute I’ve been ecstatic,” Mr Dale said on Friday about the announcement, “one minute I’m really angry.
“I’ll certainly put my hand up to be the first one there. I can’t wait. It will be absolutely open book.
“You’ve got to understand, I’ve already been through 11 of these.
“There is nothing they’re going to ask me I haven’t been asked before.”
Mr Dale said he actually “feels sorry” for Lawyer X, the pseudonym used to protect her identity, but is angry at the chief commissioners and assistant commissioners who backed her recruitment.
That was at the height of Melbourne’s bloody underworld war, when investigating police were stymied by a criminal wall of silence.
Lawyer X tried to implicate Mr Dale, a former drug squad detective, in the murder of police informant Terence Hodson and Hodson’s wife, Christine, in 2004.
He was charged five years later with the Hodsons’ murders, but in 2010 the case was dropped when underworld killer Carl Williams was himself murdered in jail.
Williams had alleged to police that Mr Dale had asked him to hire a hitman to kill Mr Hodson for $150,000.
Lawyer X secretly taped one of their conversations.
Evidence and information she gleaned was then handed to the investigation into Mr Dale, the probe overseen by current Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton, then deputy commissioner Simon Overland and assistant commissioner Luke Cornelius.
He complained, but essentially was told “there was nothing to see here”.
Mr Dale said it wasn’t just the senior police who signed-up a barrister to inform on him who should come under the Royal Commission spotlight.
Those involved in preparing the Crown case against him should also be put under intense scrutiny.
Mr Dale said what he found “so frustrating” through the period he was facing allegations of murdering the Hodsons was the knowledge his legal adviser, Lawyer X, was passing on what he said to her to investigators.
Drug charges laid against Mr Dale in 2003 were withdrawn when Hodson was killed and the murder charge as a result of Williams’ death and Lawyer X refusing to give evidence against him at trial.
“I was there knowing full well that this evidence should never have been allowed to be given,” Mr Dale said.
“And in the end, something stopped her.
“At my committal hearing for the murders was when they changed (Lawyer X) from a registered informer into a witness.
“She sent her own lawyers in at that point in time and argued against giving evidence.
“That’s when it all fell apart.”
Mr Dale said there were lawyers aware of what Lawyer X had done.
“That brief of evidence against me would have gone to the Office of Public Prosecutions … so they would have been fully aware of what’s going on here,” he said.
“Why weren’t they held accountable? I know the coppers pushed it and did it, but someone needed to stand up at some point and it just didn’t seem to happen.”
Mr Dale said the inquiry was not about him.
“This inquiry is about some senior members of the police force and others who acted completely inappropriately,” he said.
Mr Dale said the High Court judges who “absolutely slammed” Victoria Police over Lawyer X’s recruitment couldn’t have used stronger words.
“We’re not talking a couple of judges from the County Court, we’re talking seven High Court judges.”
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