February 12, 2019 09:08:46
Guards at Barwon Prison “responded in seconds” after underworld figure Tony Mokbel was critically injured in a stabbing attack on Monday afternoon, the state’s Corrections Commissioner says.
- Barwon Prison remains in lockdown while the investigation continues
- Prison staff responded “within seconds” the Corrections Commissioner said
- Mokbel was sentenced to 30 years’ jail in 2012 for his role in an elaborate drug syndicate
The high security prison remains in lockdown after Mokbel, 53, and another inmate, 31, were attacked around 4:00pm on Monday.
The ABC understands Mokbel suffered three stab wounds and that his condition deteriorated after he was flown to the Royal Melbourne Hospital for treatment.
This morning he was listed as being in a critical but stable condition.
Emma Cassar, the Commissioner for Corrections, said there was a “more than adequate” response from prison staff, who ensured both prisoners received prompt medical attention.
“Guards also made the quick decision to lock the prison down and were able to bring the situation quickly under control,” she said.
“A majority of them [prisoners] will remain in lockdown today whilst we continue the investigation to support Victoria Police to do so.
“The violence in our prison system is absolutely unacceptable and yesterday’s incident at Barwon Prison is under police investigation.”
The Victorian Government has ordered a full review of the incident.
Barwon Prison houses the state’s most dangerous offenders, and was where gangland killer Carl Williams was bashed to death with part of an exercise bike in 2010.
On Sunday, the Sunday Herald Sun reported that Mokbel had emerged as a “powerful enforcer” in the prison, and had disrupted an extortion racket being run by Pacific Islander inmates.
Herald Sun crime writer Andrew Rule said the attack, which happened the day after the story was published, could be linked to the article.
“Possibly it just inflamed the underlying tensions which are always present in a prison, particularly in a high security prison,” he said.
“People with the perception of money [inside jail] can buy influence, and protection, to a large extent.
“It’s yet to be seen but there’s a fair chance that the younger man who was injured … was probably some sort of prison bodyguard. Somebody of Mokbel’s standing would have bodyguards and friends he kept on side with the promise of money.”
Aerial vision from the prison showed Mokbel, bare-chested and wearing shorts, being stretchered away from the scene of the attack.
He was conscious when the air ambulance landed at hospital and could be seen shaking the hand of a paramedic as he was wheeled inside.
Drug kingpin fled the country
Mokbel, sentenced to 30 years in prison in 2012, was the mastermind behind an elaborate drug syndicate known as The Company.
He was arrested in Greece in June 2007, 15 months after fleeing Melbourne while on bail during a trial on cocaine importation charges.
Mokbel was recently in the headlines after it was revealed that his barrister, known as Informer 3838 or Lawyer X, was acting as a paid informant and was passing information to Victoria Police about her clients.
Victoria’s Director of Public Prosecutions, Kerri Judd QC, has written to 20 criminals — including Mokbel, whose convictions may have been affected by Victoria Police’s use of the barrister as an informant.
The Victorian Government has called a royal commission into Victoria Police’s management of informants.
Mokbel fled in 2006 while on trial for drug trafficking, and hid in Bonnie Doon in northern Victoria before being driven to Western Australia, where he set sail on a yacht, hidden in a secret compartment with its own toilet.
The yacht sailed across the Indian Ocean, through the Suez Canal and on to Greece.
Even while in hiding in Greece, Mokbel continued to run his drug syndicate, organising the trafficking of $4 million worth of speed.
Despite being disguised in a wig, he was arrested by Greek police in a cafe in a seaside suburb of Athens in June 2007.
February 12, 2019 08:05:12