Guards at Victoria’s high security jail, 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 said.
- 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 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.
Aerial vision from the prison showed him bare-chested and wearing shorts.
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.
Emma Cassar, the Commissioner for Corrections, said there was a “more than adequate” response from prison staff ensuring prisoners received prompt medical attention.
“Barwon Prison staff responded to the incident within seconds and ensured prisoners received medical attention as quickly as possible,” Dr Cassar said.
“Guards also made the quick decision to lock the prison down and were able to bring the situation quickly under control.
“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.”
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.
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.
The Victorian Government has ordered a full review of the incident.
The Geelong Hospital said the 31-year-old inmate was in a stable condition.
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.