Tony Mokbel has moaned about his tough life in prison and how he’s been unfairly denied a computer in his cell SIX times – as he struggles to recover from a jail stabbing that nearly killed the feared drug lord
- Drug lord Tony Mokbel was almost stabbed to death in jail in February
- Mokbel looked old and tired as he appeared via videolink in court from jail
- The feared gangster has begged the court for access to a computer
- He has also moaned that his time in solitude has not been good for his health
It was 2006 and the image of a cocky Tony Mokbel walking across Melbourne’s William Street into the Supreme Court portrayed all of the power he held at the time.
Pinstriped from neck to ankle, head held high – Mokbel was a man to be feared and respected as the city’s bloody underworld war drew closer to its inevitable end.
On Thursday, 13-years on, the 53-year old drug lord appeared in the Supreme Court of Victoria again dressed almost exactly the same way he did back in his prime.
This image of Tony Mokbel, taken in 2006, as he walked into the Supreme Court of Victoria in Melbourne has become iconic. Mokbel today is a shadow of his former self
Only this time he did not get to strut into court followed by a swarm of television cameras and press photographers.
The only playful banter he would have had this time was to the prison guards leading him from his solitary confinement cell to the video room at Melbourne’s notorious Barwon Prison.
The fact Mokbel was still able to get into a suit was impressive in itself.
Only a few months ago he was on death’s door after some younger inmates took offence to a newspaper article that indicated Mokbel was still a big wheel behind prison walls.
Teira Bennett and Eldea Teuira, both 21, took to Mokbel with prison shivs after Melbourne newspaper the Herald Sun reported he had intervened in a standover racket run by Pacific Islander inmates.
Tony Mokbel being attended to by medical staff after his stabbing at Barwon Prison. He has remained in lockdown ever since for his own safety
Tony Mokbel was on death’s door after he was stabbed inside Barwon Prison. He has made a remarkable recovery but looks old and tired from his time in jail
The men will both appear in court in October after admitting they had wanted to seriously injure the former kingpin.
Mokbel spent weeks in hospital recovering from his injuries and on his return to jail has been locked up in a protection unit for fears that he’ll be killed if set among the general population.
He appeared in the Supreme Court of Appeal as part of his efforts to get out of jail early over his involvement in the Lawyer X – Nicola Gobbo – scandal, which brought on a royal commission in Victoria.
Mokbel reckons Gobbo, who acted for him, got other prisoners to rat on him, which he believes was a miscarriage of justice.
Mokbel was jailed for 30 years after pleading guilty to drug trafficking charges.
Former Victorian judge Richard Maidment, QC is acting for Mokbel.
But while Mr Maidment was hard at work convincing the court that his client had been hard done by, he also took a shot at making Mokbel’s life behind bars just a little bit more palatable.
It would appear the reason Mokbel had ‘suited-up’ for the occasion was that he had hoped the Court of Appeal might have some sway with his prison masters.
Mr Maidment told Justices Chris Maxwell and Mark Weinberg that Mokbel had written to the jail six times asking for access to a computer in his cell.
Nicola Gobba aka Lawyer X and Tony Mokbel head into court back when she represented him. Mokbel now hopes his association with her will see him released from jail
Mokbel in chains. It was 2007 and Mokbel was unaccustomed to being caged. He appeared in court today in a red tie and suit, but looked much older and thinner from his time in jail
Mokbel claimed he had not been provided a reason why his requests are not being met.
Prisoners are not granted access to the internet and are usually used to help with correspondence with their legal teams.
Mr Maidment said Mokbel had not been able to mix with other prisoners since his stabbing and prison staff had further fears for his safety because of evidence being provided to the royal commission.
His barrister said it had been ‘very difficult’ for Mokbel to recover from his injuries while not being allowed contact with anyone.
It was also hard to take instructions from him.
Mokbel had written to the court independently in the hope the judges could pull some strings with his prison masters.
But Justice Maxwell said there was little he could do about it and it was not within the court’s jurisdiction to meddle with Mokbel’s prison conditions.
‘It’s not appropriate to express a view,’ he said.
Justice Maxwell said all he could do was ensure Mokbel’s legal team were given enough time to prepare.
With that, the video link was cut and Mokbel was no doubt led back to his prison nightmare and placed back into his green prison pajamas and he appears again in court.