Sunday Herald Sun - - News -

IN the un­der­world, se­crets that don’t stay se­cret can get you killed, or locked up a long time. Yet cun­ning crim­i­nals who would hardly trust their moth­ers, let alone po­lice or other crooks, mostly trust lawyers the way church­go­ers used to trust priests.

They are suck­ers for con­fi­den­tial­ity be­cause it’s so rare in their dog-eat-dog world.

An ex­am­ple. Lewis Mo­ran, the late un­der­world fig­ure fa­tally close to the heart of the un­der­world war, once told a lawyer he knew ex­actly who had killed the gang­land gun­man Dino Di­bra. He also knew why.

In­trigued, the lawyer asked the feared old-time crook why he was so sure he had the an­swer to a mur­der that po­lice had not been able to crack.

“Be­cause I killed him,” Mo­ran replied as if he were talk­ing about a park­ing ticket.

It was sim­ple, Mo­ran ex­plained: killing the vi­o­lent Di­bra (at Sun­shine in Oc­to­ber 2000) was pay­back for the mur­der of his step­son Mark Mo­ran out­side his Aber­feldie home ex­actly four months ear­lier. An eye for an eye, a bul­let for a bul­let.

The lawyer didn’t doubt the story. Still doesn’t. He was prob­a­bly the only per­son alive that Mo­ran would trust with a mur­der con­fes­sion, which had come up in a con­ver­sa­tion about po­lice and me­dia the­o­ries that Carl Wil­liams “pulled the trig­ger” on Mark Mo­ran.

The Di­bra story was an­other se­cret “in the vault”. The lawyer told no one un­til long af­ter Mo­ran was shot dead by a hit­man at the bar of the Brunswick Club in 2004. As a le­gal ad­vo­cate, he wasn’t big on pro­pri­ety, but con­fi­den­tial­ity al­ways mat­tered — which ex­plains why ly­ing, cheat­ing crooks trust some lawyers with truths they won’t tell any­one else.

At least, that’s the way it was un­til Lawyer X torched the rule­book with a string of be­tray­als that some peo­ple guessed at long be­fore the news of her be­ing a dou­ble agent fil­tered through po­lice and le­gal cir­cles to the un­der­world.

“I could never work out why I lost clients to her,” says one vet­eran bar­ris­ter. “Maybe I couldn’t give the same ser­vice.”

A re­tired crim­i­nal lawyer said flatly this week: “I never trusted her.”

Nei­ther did well-known “gang­land lawyer” Zarah Garde-Wil­son, the quiet achiever who has spent the last week ex­plain­ing to anx­ious rel­a­tives and oth­ers out­side the le­gal bub­ble that, no, she is not Lawyer X.

In fact, dur­ing the gang­land war Garde-Wil­son warned peo­ple not to trust Lawyer X. Garde-Wil­son, as care­ful and con­sid­ered as Lawyer X was out­spo­ken, says her pro­fes­sional ri­val hated her “be­cause I told peo­ple she was a po­lice in­former”.

Garde-Wil­son’s shrewd de­duc­tion prob­a­bly ex­plains why Carl Wil­liams de­scribed Lawyer X as a “dog” (in­former) be­fore it was com­mon knowl­edge, not that it helped him once he de­cided to do some in­form­ing of his own in jail.

The han­dling of Wil­liams af­ter his ar­rest in 2004 tells us some­thing

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