Tony Mokbel shook hands with a paramedic when he arrived at the Royal Melbourne Hospital after being stabbed. (ABC News)
A review into the serious prison assault on former underworld boss Tony Mokbel has found authorities did not fully comply with Corrections Victoria policies when assessing the risk to his safety.
- Tony Mokbel was stabbed in jail the day after a front page newspaper article called him an “enforcer”
- An independent review found Barwon Prison authorities recognised the article posed a risk to Mokbel
- But it found the risk assessment was too brief and did not fully comply with policy
Mokbel was seriously injured when he was stabbed by two inmates in Barwon Prison in February.
It happened the day after a Herald Sun newspaper article stated Mokbel was a feared prison boss and top enforcer and claimed he had stopped an extortion racket run by Pacific Islander inmates.
The independent review for the Corrections, Prisons and Parole Department found that while prison authorities immediately recognised the potential risk the article posed to Mokbel, the risk assessment process was relatively brief, and did not fully comply with Corrections Victoria policy.
The story on Tony Mokbel was published in the Sunday Herald Sun on February 10, 2019. (Twitter: Nick Papps)
Corrections Victoria said the Independent Review Report included confidential information that could not be publicly disclosed because it may jeopardise prison security or intelligence gathering.
But a summary of the report released by Corrections Victoria described Mokbel as a high-profile prisoner who was seriously injured when two other prisoners punched, kicked and stabbed him with a homemade prison knife known as a shiv.
“The assault caused major injuries which could have been fatal but were not,” the summary said.
The review was carried out by former New South Wales Court of Appeal Judge David Ipp QC and former Commissioner of Queensland Corrective Services Dr Mark Rallings.
They found improvements could be made to strengthen the process by which Corrections Victoria acts after a prisoner is referred to in media articles.
“The independent review found that, while the prison authorities immediately recognised that there was a potential risk to Mokbel, resulting in consultation with Mokbel and other individuals, the process taken to assess the risk was relatively brief, and did not fully comply with Corrections Victoria policy,” the summary of the report stated.
The report’s summary said the prison assault caused major injuries which could have been fatal. (AAP: Julian Smith)
“The response of Corrections Victoria to this media report resulted in a decision made that the article presented little risk to Mokbel.”
The independent review also noted that prison staff had “acted courageously to move [Mokbel’s] assailants away”.
The review identified a range of improvements and made 16 recommendations which focussed on strengthening the response of Corrections Victoria to media reports about prisoners and improving training for emergency incidents.
Corrections Victoria said it accepted all the recommendations and work was underway to implement them.