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First 'Lawyer X' acquittal Frank Orman refused

Faruk Orman (second right) with his legal team leaves the court of appeal a free man. Courtesy: AAP

The first person acquitted because of Victoria’s ‘Lawyer X’ scandal has been denied the opportunity to hear about the evidence that led to his wrongful murder conviction.

Faruk Orman was released last month after spending 12 years in prison due to a miscarriage of justice caused by his lawyer Nicola Gobbo’s double dealings as a police informer.

But he’s been refused the chance to hear senior police discuss the evidence that put him behind bars, over fears the identities of informers and their handlers could be exposed, putting them at risk.

Mr Orman was convicted after a killer-turned-witness, who cannot be identified, implicated him as a getaway driver in the 2002 murder of underworld figure Victor Peirce.

That witness was encouraged to give evidence by Nicola Gobbo, who represented Mr Orman when he was charged with the murder, which he has always denied.

Former lead underworld investigator Gavan Ryan told an inquiry into police use of informers yesterday the witness had hoped to serve just two years in prison in exchange for snitching to police.

While the man received a much longer sentence, he still received a “significant benefit” for becoming an informer, Mr Ryan said.

he commission also heard detective Stuart Bateson received two bottles of wine as a wedding gift from the witness, passed on by Ms Gobbo.

Mr Ryan approved the gift because it was important to keep the witness onside between when he made his statement and giving evidence at Mr Orman’s trial.

He described witnesses as becoming “very needy” after rolling.

“It’s not the type of thing we’d normally get. Normally we get some hate mail,” he joked, adding that he couldn’t remember something like that ever happening with another witness.
Mr Ryan’s evidence will continue today.