Drug lord Tony Mokbel was brought to trial again after the sensational overturning of his cocaine import conviction due to the Attorney X scandal.
However, a new trial will not be scheduled after the Commonwealth Chief Prosecutor has agreed not to conduct a new trial.
The appeals court ruled Friday morning on whether Mokbel should be acquitted or re-convicted after his 12-year sentence for importing 2.9 kg of cocaine from Mexico in 2006 was waived last December.
Commonwealth Prosecutor Sarah McNaughton, SC, admitted the conviction failed after it became known that Mokbel was represented by snooping attorney Nicola Gobbo while serving as a secret police informant.
The court heard that Ms. McNaughton wanted to order a retrial for the record only, although she acknowledged that Mokbel had already served the entire sentence on the charges and could not continue to be punished.
Ms. McNuaghton SC and Rowena Orr QC for the state DPP spoke out against the Gangland Drug Lord’s acquittal, saying he sent the wrong message.
Mokbel has been ordered to face a new trial that will likely never take place.
Appeal Court Judges David Beach and Judge Robert Osborn agreed, stating that there will be no retrial, “does not make a due process order pointless”.
“Concepts of practical futility cannot be challenged in order to require this court to make an order which it believes is inappropriate for the authorities and in all circumstances,” said Justice Beach and Osborn.
However, Judge Chris Maxwell agreed with Mokbel’s legal team that acquittal was the way to go, but said there was still enough evidence to support the conviction.
“In my view, the most important consideration is that the applicant has already served the entire 12-year head sentence imposed on him for the import crime.”
“An order to retrial is therefore not necessary to defend the objectives of criminal law.”
“The acquittal formally expresses the Court of Appeal’s conclusion that there should be no retrial,” said Judge Maxwell.
The gangland Bigwig was sentenced to at least nine years in absentia after escaping overseas on bail during the 2006 trial, sparking Australia’s largest international manhunt.
He was later tracked down and arrested in an Athens cafe in 2007 while wearing a wig as a disguise and extradited from Greece in 2008.
Mokbel is still battling several other drug trafficking convictions, of which he pleaded guilty in 2012.
It is serving at least 22 years and its earliest release date is still 2033.
Originally published as Mokbel ordered to be tried again after the lawyer X scandal