Thursday 13 October 2011

A PLANNED bid for freedom by Melbourne identity Tony Mokbel has been sensationally scrapped.

Tony Mokbel

Tony Mokbel is expected to use a legal loophole to try to beat charges against him. Supplied

Mokbel was expected to use a police stuff-up to try to get off drug charges he has already admitted.

Police sources yesterday revealed that Mokbel's lawyers would try to use a legal loophole to beat charges against the notorious gangland boss.

Mokbel would have been the first of many criminals and suspects hoping to take advantage of a recent admission by Victoria Police that officers routinely failed to swear an oath when signing affidavits.

The embarrassing blunder could render any evidence gained from affidavits used to execute search warrants, bug telephones or install listening and tracking devices unable to be used in prosecutions.

The legal team was expected to seek an adjournment in the sentencing process to allow it to check the veracity of documents used by Victoria Police to gather evidence against Mokbel.

But Mokbel's lawyer Peter Faris QC appeared before the Supreme Court this morning and said they no longer wished to proceed with an application for an adjournment.

No reason was given for the change of plans.

A plea hearing for Mokbel will now go ahead on Tuesday.

Mokbel, 45, pleaded guilty in April to drug charges relating to him masterminding his drug gang while he was on the run in Victoria and Greece.

Bugging and tracking his phones enabled Purana taskforce detectives to work out where Mokbel had fled to - resulting in him being arrested in the Definia seaside cafe near Athens in 2007 after 15 months on the run.

Forensic accountants attached to Purana were able to establish that Mokbel made about $100 million through his gang, which he called The Company.

Company members were involved in the manufacture and distribution of very large quantities of amphetamines and trafficking ecstasy and cocaine.

The Company was formed largely to finance Mokbel's escape from Australia and pay for his life as a fugitive in Australia and Greece.

In a deal between his lawyers and prosecutors, outstanding drug charges were dropped in return for him pleading guilty to trafficking a large commercial quantity of methylamphetamine, trafficking a large commercial quantity of ecstasy and urging an undercover operative to import a commercial quantity of ecstasy.

His fear of being charged over one or more underworld murders prompted him to disappear near the end of his March 2006 drug trial.

He fully expected to be convicted on the cocaine smuggling charge, telling close associates he would cop it and do the five years he expected to be jailed for.

What he couldn't stomach was the thought of a life sentence for murder.

He was sentenced in his absence to a nine-year minimum term from the 2006 drug trial. With time served before sentencing, he would be eligible to be released in February 2014.