Podcasts & Books

Unpack The True Story Of Melbourne’s Gangland War With This Chilling New Crime Podcast

By Rick Stephens
25th Aug 2020

The Melbourne skyline and Yarra river dimly lit by the moon on a winter's night.

If you caught the first season of Aussie true-crime podcast Trace, you’ll know it was equal parts shocking, heartbreaking and enthralling. And now, investigative journalist Rachel Brown returns with season two, this time unpacking the infamous story of Nicola Gobbo (AKA Lawyer X), the criminal lawyer and recently ousted police informer who’s currently in hiding.

The podcast unfurls via Gobbo’s only media interview since she fled Australia several years ago. Before meeting with Gobbo at an undisclosed location, Brown travelled to multiple countries in an effort to throw any tails that may have been trying to locate the ex-criminal lawyer. What follows is a story that involves murder, mafia, corruption, drugs and deceit—the key words any discerning true crime fan looks for.

Much of the podcast draws from the happenings of Melbourne’s gangland wars, which began in the late nineties and dragged on until almost 2010. At the time ,Gobbo was a practising defence lawyer for some of Melbourne’s most notorious underworld dons (think Tony Mokbel and Carl Williams pedigree), while simultaneously feeding back intel to the Victoria Police.

It was an unprecedented situation that would have initially seemed like a sort-of crystal ball for authorities, but as the gangland war continued into the early 2000s via a smattering of killings, Gobbo’s allegiance to the police as well her clients became questionable. 

From a first hand, in-the-thick-of it perspective, Trace continues to unearth the ugly truths of Melbourne’s gang wars, but with at least one client being acquitted from charges,  it also raises several ethical questions relating to the right to a fair trial—and legitimacy of our legal system—at the time.

The bedroom detective in us all can burn through all four episodes of Trace season two via ABC Listen or where all good podcasts are found.

Check out other Aussie podcasts worth binging here.

Image credit: Tim McCartney

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