1 Mar 2021

Sir David Carruthers to oversee Lawyer X royal commission recommendations

6:40 pm on 1 March 2021

A former judge from New Zealand has been appointed by the Victorian government to oversee the implementation of all of the recommendations made by the Lawyer X royal commission.

Sir David Carruthers.

Sir David Carruthers will report annually on his progress "bolster community confidence in the justice system", says Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes. Photo: RNZ / Adriana Weber

Sir David Carruthers is a former chair of the New Zealand Independent Police Conduct Authority and former judge of the New Zealand family and youth courts.

He was knighted in 2009 for his service to the District Courts.

The appointment of the Implementation Monitor was announced by Attorney-General Jaclyn Symes who said Sir David would report annually on his progress to "bolster community confidence in the justice system".

The royal commission, which reported on 30 November, investigated the role of Nicola Gobbo, the lawyer who informed to police on her clients in Melbourne's bloody underworld war.

The commission made 111 recommendations, all of which would implemented in full, the government said.

Among the recommendations was appointing a special investigator to determine whether Gobbo and police officers broke the law, implementing new safeguards for using human sources, and requiring lawyers to speak up if they suspected other lawyers of misconduct.

Appointing an independent monitor who would assess and report on the implementation of the recommendations was one of the report's final recommendations.

The report heard from 82 witnesses over 129 days of public and private evidence.

"The royal commission gave us a clear blueprint for restoring public confidence in the justice system by making sure these events never happen again," Symes said.

"We're getting on with implementing all the recommendations of the royal commission and the independent monitor will play a vital role in holding this progress to account."

Symes also announced the government had appointed an independent senior counsel to report on and review the 11 human source files which were not given to the commission on "public interest immunity grounds."

She did not name the senior counsel.

The legislation giving the Implementation Monitor all of the necessary powers will be introduced into the Victorian Parliament later this year.