Tony Mokbel’s sentence reduced by Court of Appeal

Tony Mokbel’s sentence reduced by Court of Appeal

March 7, 2023

Drug kingpin Tony Mokbel will be eligible for parole in less than nine years after being resentenced for a string of drug offences.

Mokbel’s legal team applied to the Court of Appeal to have the sentences imposed on him in 2012 re-examined. They said this was necessary after an earlier conviction from 2006 was retrospectively set aside because Nicola Gobbo was involved in the case as a lawyer while moonlighting as a secret police informer.

Tony Mokbel outside court in 2006.Credit:Andrew De La Rue

On Tuesday, the bench of appeal judges ordered Mokbel, now aged 57, be resentenced to 26 years’ jail with a non-parole period of 20 years for a string of drug offences. The original sentence imposed on him for those crimes in 2012 was 30 years with a non-parole period of 22 years.

The appeal judges said the ongoing effects of a 2019 prison yard assault on Mokbel, the restricted nature of his incarceration and the impact COVID-19 had on the prison system were factors they considered.

Mokbel was famously arrested as a fugitive in Greece in 2007 after fleeing while on trial, and was later identified as the mastermind of a drug cartel known as The Company.

Tuesday’s resentencing overrides that imposed by Justice Simon Whelan in 2012.

Former AFP deputy commissioner John Lawler with the-then Victoria Police chief commissioner Christine Nixon after Mokbel’s arrest in 2007.Credit:Craig Abraham

Before it was handed down, Mokbel’s legal team argued he had a heart condition and reduced life expectancy that should mitigate the number of years he spent in prison for the drug offences.

Just last week – more than decade later – Mokbel made headlines when he was rushed from prison to hospital after suffering heart complications.

He also endured a cardiac arrest in 2019, when two inmates at Barwon Prison bashed and stabbed him with a makeshift knife.

On Tuesday, he faced the Court of Appeal remotely from Barwon’s Melaleuca unit for high-risk inmates.

Nicola Gobbo and Tony Mokbel outside a court in 2004.Credit:Nine News

Wearing a black suit, white shirt and a wristwatch, he sat throughout the brief, six-minute-long hearing.

In their written reasoning, Court of Appeal justices Karin Emerton, David Beach and Stephen McLeish said Mokbel had already spent more than five years in jail at the time of his sentencing in 2012.

That time was initially served for what became known as the “Plutonium” cocaine-trafficking offences.

Those offences led to Mokbel being convicted by a jury in March 2006 of importing a traffickable quantity of cocaine. He was sentenced to serve 12 years in jail with a non-parole period of nine years.

And, when he later pleaded guilty to three other serious drug matters in 2012 – known as the Quills, Orbital and Magnum offending – Justice Whelan took that earlier conviction into account.

However almost a decade later, the Commonwealth DPP conceded the revelations about Gobbo’s police informing had exposed “a substantial miscarriage of justice” in the Plutonium conviction, so the conviction was set aside in April 2021.

As a result of that decision, Mokbel argued he had spent five years in custody prior to the 2012 conviction for a crime that he was no longer convicted of, and that the 2012 sentencing needed the be re-examined.

In all, Mokbel has spent more than 4200 days in custody, including 347 days where he was held in Greece in 2007 and 2008.

As of March 2023, he has spent more than 11-and-a-half years in custody. This means he could be eligible for parole in close to eight and a half years.

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