Lawyer turned police informer causes controversy

The Supreme Court last night forced the Herald Sun to stop its presses, to prevent the possible identification of a criminal defence lawyer who was also a secret police informer. Articles published earlier this week have been removed from the paper’s website. The right to confidential discussions with a lawyer is fundamental to the criminal justice system; Justice Gummow described it as “a substantive and fundamental common law doctrine, a rule of law, the best explanation of which is that it affords a practical guarantee of fundamental rights.” The Legal Services Commissioner says a lawyer who leaks against their clients could be charged with professional misconduct. Prominent lawyer Rob Stary has called for a royal commission to investigate the issue and restore public confidence in the system.