Tony Mokbel, who pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking large commercial quantities of ecstasy and speed in April, has made an application to the Supreme Court last week to reverse his plea to ‘not guilty.’
On April 18 2011, Mokbel admitted operating a drug network trafficking large amounts of methamphetamine while in hiding in Athens between 2006 and 2007. At the same hearing he also pleaded guilty to trafficking MDMA.
The application to change his plea is based on a potential legal loophole discovered after the Victoria Police admitted in an unrelated case, that affidavits had not been sworn or affirmed properly, as is legally required.
Mokbel’s defence team argued last week in the Supreme Court, that Victoria Police committed a fraud on the criminal justice system by not properly swearing affidavits.
Defence barrister Peter Faris QC, argued that the admission could affect the validity of evidence used in the decade-long investigation into Tony Mokbel’s alleged multimillion dollar drug smuggling operations.
Prosecutors responded saying that Mokbel knew full-well what he was pleading guilty to seven months ago, and described his application to change his plea as, “hopeless,” arguing that no evidence exists to suggest warrants obtained by police were invalid.
Mr Peter Kidd, acting for the prosecution, told the court that Mokbel pleaded guilty of his own free will, and that Mokbel was in effect saying: ‘I didn’t realise I could have some evidence excluded that would weaken the crown case’.” Mr Kidd added that this did not mean that when Mokbel pleaded guilty, “he did not understand what he was doing.”
The prosecutor called the application, “completely speculative,” and that it should be dismissed immediately .
Because Mokbel’s assets have been confiscated, the taxpayer-funded Victoria Legal Aid (VLA) will foot the bill for his legal fees in relation to the application.
Justice Simon Whelan granted Mokbel’s defence barrister time to prepare submissions. The application will resume on October 28.