An Australian man’s conviction for a gangland murder has been quashed, after a high-profile scandal where his lawyer was revealed to be a police informant.
Faruk Orman was freed on Friday after serving 12 years in jail for the killing of a Melbourne crime figure.
It is the first legal test of the so-called “Lawyer X” scandal which is currently the focus of a major inquiry into police conduct.
Some of Australia’s most high-profile convictions have been cast into doubt.
Mr Orman had been convicted of acting as a driver for a hitman who shot dead Victor Peirce in 2002, during a period in Melbourne known as the gangland wars.
Mr Orman successfully appealed against his conviction, arguing that the case against him had been tainted by the actions of his lawyer, Nicola Gobbo.
Ms Gobbo’s actions had “subverted Mr Orman’s right to a fair trial, and went to the very foundations of the system of criminal trial,” said the judgement by Victoria’s Court of Appeal.
“There was, accordingly, a substantial miscarriage of justice.”
Last year, court documents revealed that a lawyer had worked as an informant for Victoria Police between 2005-2009. That person was publicly identified as Ms Gobbo by a court in March.
She had represented other key figures in Melbourne’s criminal underworld.
The scandal has rocked the justice system in the state of Victoria, and prompted appeals from at least four other convicted gangland criminals.
The state government is currently holding a royal commission inquiry into the scandal.
Faruk Orman: Murder conviction quashed in Australia ‘Lawyer X’ scandal}