From top: Social worker Laura Brophy; Senior Counsel Michael McDowell with his client Garda whistleblower Sergeant Maurice McCabe
The Disclosures Tribunal heard from the woman who made a complaint to gardaí against Sgt Maurice McCabe in December 2006 which was investigated by the DPP who subsequently ordered that no prosecution take place.
Readers will recall that the woman is being referred to as Ms D during the tribunal. Her parents are referred to as Mr D, who is a guard, and Mrs D.
The tribunal has already heard that Ms D’s 2006 complaint resurfaced during a counselling session seven years later in 2013, in Cavan, with RIAN counsellor Laura Brophy.
It’s also heard how an erroneous allegation of rape against Sgt McCabe ended up being attributed to Ms D when Ms Brophy sent a botched referral to Tusla in August 2013.
The tribunal is not re-examining Ms D’s allegation of 2006 but it is examining how her allegation became conflated with the allegation of rape and how, and if, this was circulated between RIAN, Tusla and An Garda Siochana.
The examination of this matter is part of a wider investigation into allegations of a smear campaign orchestrated by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan with the knowledge of the current Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan – as alleged by the former head of the Garda Press Office Supt Dave Taylor.
Ms D, Mr D and Mrs D gave evidence yesterday in relation to all or some of the following:
– Ms D’s initial contact with RIAN counsellor Laura Brophy in July 2013;
– how journalists called to their home in early 2014;
– how Ms D conducted an interview with Paul Williams, of the Irish Independent, in March 2014 after Mr D had a conversation with Det Supt John O’Reilly, in which she told Mr Williams that Sgt McCabe had ruined the careers of some gardaí and tore the garda family apart in Cavan/Monaghan;
– how Ms D subsequently met with Fianna Fáil leader Mícheál Martin and former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter after that;
– how Ms D made a complaint to GSOC in July 2014, in which she told GSOC two unsubstantiated rumours about Sgt McCabe, namely that Sgt McCabe would “hang around the girls’ secondary school in suspicious circumstances” – something Ms D told GSOC Dept Supt O’Reilly told her father, Mr D; and that a girl from Clones, Co Monaghan had made a similar allegation to Ms D, something which was told to her by Mr D.
– how neither Ms D or Mr D told GSOC of the error made by Rian counselling when a contaminated referral was sent containing an unrelated rape allegation to Tusla in August 2013
– how Mr D became aware of the error after Supt Leo McGinn showed him the Tusla referral with the incorrect allegation of rape in May 2014;
– how Mr D told Ms D of this error;
– how Ms D went on to tell Ms Brophy of the error.
The tribunal also heard that Mr D believed the 2006 allegation pertaining to Sgt McCabe and his daughter was an “open secret” among gardaí; while Ms D said Baileboro and Virginia in Cavan are small towns and that the 2006 allegation was known in the area.
Counselling with Laura Brophy
Readers will note that Ms Brophy has told the tribunal that she held two counselling sessions with Ms D on July 24, 2013 and August 7, 2013.
Ms Brophy has already given evidence to the tribunal about how, on August 9, 2013, she referred Ms D’s allegation to Tusla as a retrospective disclosure of abuse without realising that she had added an allegation of rape – wholly unrelated to either Ms D or Sgt McCabe – to Ms D’s allegation.
This had the effect of it appearing that Ms D was accusing Sgt McCabe of rape which Ms D had never done. Tusla is obliged to inform An Garda Síochána of such allegations and vice versa.
Readers will recall Ms Brophy has already told the tribunal that she sent this referral to Tusla – after the two counselling sessions – on the basis that Tusla had no knowledge of the 2006 allegation and that, therefore, the matter had not been considered by a social worker.
She said this was her understanding based on a phone call she had had with Breige Tinnelly, of Tusla. However Ms Brophy was aware that the gardai were aware of the matter and that it had gone to the DPP.
Ms Brophy also specifically told the tribunal that if she had been given Sgt McCabe’s identity during her first session with Ms D, she would have been “obligated to send in a report [to Tusla] regardless of whether or not [Ms D] consented”.
But as Ms D had not identified Sgt McCabe to Ms Brophy during the first session, Ms Brophy said the purpose of her arranging to meet Ms D again was to obtain the alleged perpetrator’s identity.
Ms Brophy told the tribunal:
“I was leaving it to her to make that decision [to identify Sgt McCabe]. That is why I arranged to meet her again.”
Diarmuid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, previously asked Ms Brophy to confirm if Ms D had given her consent to Ms Brophy about the sending of the referral, which, unbeknownst to her, turned out to be catastrophically wrong.
Ms Brophy told the tribunal:
“Well, it was — I suppose it was what I would call an informed disclosure, which I differentiate between informed and consent, so I am not saying that she was pleased about it going in, but I had said that I wouldn’t be able to unless the identity of the alleged was given to me and that was then given to me on our second appointment, so it’s my understanding that she was — it was informed disclosure planned.”
When asked if Ms D had been reluctant for a referral to go in, Ms Brophy said: “That’s correct.”
The tribunal has also previously heard Ms D signed a Confidentiality in Counselling form given to her by Ms Brophy during the first session, on July 24, 2013, while the only notes Ms Brophy took during the first session pertained to the Assessment of Counselling form she filled out.
The tribunal heard she didn’t take any notes of the second session. Instead, she returned to the assessment form and added Sgt McCabe’s details to it. Specifically, she said:
“I didn’t add to it, apart from the information that I received, which was the identifying information of the alleged at the time.”
The tribunal heard that the only other notes that Ms Brophy took, pertaining to her contact with Ms D, were in relation to telephone calls she had with Ms D after the error became known to her, by Ms D, in May 2014.
Further to this…
Ms D told the tribunal that she attended counselling with Ms Brophy after her mother encouraged her to do so.
Mr D told the tribunal that Ms D would get upset every time she saw or heard Sgt McCabe’s name mentioned and that’s why her mother proposed that she go to counselling – particularly as she was planning to go back to college in September 2013.
“I said ‘just go, keep your mum happy,” Mr D said.
Readers may wish to note that Sgt Maurice McCabe was not mentioned in the national media until January 2014.
Ms D told the tribunal yesterday that she could not recall having two counselling sessions with Ms Brophy but conceded that, if documents showed there had been two meetings, she accepted that.
She said she never told Ms Brophy anything different to what she told the guards in 2006.
Asked about the referring of her allegation on to Tusla, Ms D told the tribunal that she could recall Ms Brophy saying something to the effect that her allegation would be something that she might have to refer on. Ms D said this “straight away” got her back up.
“‘Refer what?’ I said…I couldn’t understand,” Ms D told the tribunal.
Ms D said she told Ms Brophy that the matter had already been investigated, that the DPP had ordered that there was to be no prosecution, and that Tusla were made aware of the matter in 2006.
Ms D told the tribunal:
“I was there to get counselling to deal with the emotions I was feeling. I was not there to make any complaint or to lodge any referral.”
Asked if Ms Brophy had explained to her the issues around confidentiality, Ms D said: “I honestly don’t recall it being explained to me in depth.”
Ms D’s attention was then brought to the confidentiality form that she signed on July 24, 2013.
She conceded it looked familiar and that she signed it on July 24, 2013.
Ms D was then asked about Ms Brophy’s evidence that the purpose of Ms D returning for a second counselling session on August 7 was that it was to give Ms D time to think about disclosing Sgt McCabe’s identity to Ms Brophy.
Ms D said: “I don’t really recall the second meeting.”
Ms D repeated that she was there to deal with current emotions and not there to either make a complaint or to have anything referred on to Tusla. She also said that she could not recall Ms Brophy telling her that Tusla did not have a referral from the matter in 2006.
“Nor did she tell me she was going to make a retrospective referral,” Ms D told the tribunal.
Ms D said she didn’t think the matter was going to be referred as she believed the matter had been dealt with.
Under cross-examination from Mr McDowell SC, he asked Ms D to confirm if she made it clear to Ms Brophy that Tusla were made aware of her complaint in 2006/2007 and she said: Yes.
Mr McDowell also asked her to confirm if she made it clear to Ms Brophy that the gardai were aware and she said: “Of course.”
Mr McDowell put it to Ms D that, from Ms D’s evidence, Ms Brophy was “pushing the referral”. Ms D said: “Yes.”
Asked if she was “pushing against that”, Ms D said:
“Exactly. I did not go to Laura Brophy to have a referral. I didn’t want the matter referred. As far as I was aware Tusla had on my file the complaint from 2006 and obviously the gardaí were aware, as I made the complaint to them.”
Mr McDowell later asked Ms D if she accepted that, in a second meeting with Ms Brophy, in August 2013, that she did in fact identify Sgt McCabe to Ms Brophy. Ms D said: Yes.
Mr McDowell said he didn’t want to get into what Ms D did or didn’t say to Ms Brophy but drew her attention to the fact that Ms Brophy has already told the tribunal that Ms D had fears of an adverse effect on her chances of becoming a guard.
Ms D said she could recall telling Ms Brophy that she wanted to be a guard but should couldn’t recall saying that she feared the matter would have an adverse affect on her chances of becoming a guard.
Mr McDowell asked if it’s fair to say she must have been unhappy with her encounter with Laura Brophy, Ms D said: “Yes it wasn’t an enjoyable experience.”
Ms D’s father – a guard who is referred to as Mr D in the tribunal – was asked if he asked Ms D about her counselling session. He said he “didn’t go into the ins and outs of it” but “I do remember she was quite annoyed when she came home. She said the counsellor had to refer it [to Tusla]. She was annoyed, chairman, very annoyed.”
Ms D’s mother – referred to as Mrs D in the tribunal – told the tribunal that she drove Ms D to the first counselling session and walked her into the reception. Asked about Ms D’s mood after the first appointment, Mrs D said:
“She was in an absolute foul mood. When she came out she was like a demon.”
Mrs D said her daughter was upset because the counsellor told her she was going to have to make a referral.
Journalists calling to the D family
The tribunal heard how how two journalists called to the D family’s home in early 2014 at a time when Ms D was attending college in the south east of Ireland.
Mr D told the tribunal that he believed the 2006 allegation “was an open secret in the guards and journalists were aware”. He said: “I presumed to myself that this is why there was a sudden media interest.”
Mrs D recalled how Debbie McCann, of the Irish Mail on Sunday, was the first to call to the house “out of the blue” in February 2014 for what was a five-minute encounter.
Mrs D said Ms McCann was heavily pregnant at the time and she presumed Ms McCann was somebody looking for directions. However, once Ms McCann introduced herself as a journalist, Mrs D realised this wasn’t the case.
Mrs D said she instantly “horrified” as she tried to understand why Ms McCann called to the house. Mrs D said Ms McCann “said something about the whistleblower” and Mrs D told her that the D family were not speaking to anybody.
Asked if she understood why Ms McCann was there, Ms D said she assumed it had something to do with Ms D and her complaint against Sgt McCabe of 2006.
Asked why she made that assumption, Mrs D said because Ms McCann said something to the effect that she knew she had been though a hard time but “there’s obviously another side of the story”. Mrs D said Ms McCann told her she got the D family’s address or details from “downtown”.
Mrs D told the tribunal that, in hindsight, she felt she was perhaps a bit rude to Ms McCann as she was heavily pregnant and didn’t invite her in.
The tribunal heard that, a few days after Ms McCann called to the house, another journalist Eavan Murray, currently of the Irish Sun, also called to the D family home. Mrs D said she could recall that Ms Murray was “a big tall girl”.
When Mr D was giving evidence, he mentioned Ms Murray getting in contact and told the tribunal that, also around that time, Mick O’Toole, of the Irish Daily Star, sent him a message on Facebook.
When Mrs D was giving evidence, and asked if she asked Ms Murray how she knew to call to the house, Mrs D replied that she couldn’t remember.
However, unlike Ms McCann, Mr and Mrs D had tea with Ms Murray. Asked what they talked about while having tea, Mrs D said:
“I suppose I probably would have said that our daughter had gone through a tough time and that all this McCabe stuff wasn’t helping her, probably something along those lines.”
Interview with Paul Williams
Both Ms D and Mr D were asked about Ms D being interviewed by Paul Williams, of the Irish Independent, in March 2104.
Ms D told the tribunal she had asked to meet Mr Williams herself.
She said she had “a personal grievance against” Sgt McCabe since 1998 and that, while she had tried to deal with it herself and cope with it, she was very upset when he became a public figure and “was being described as a heroic man”.
She told the tribunal:
“I felt very unhappy. I was very upset and I wanted people to know there was another side to this man.”
She said she wanted to speak to somebody to get “her side of the story out”.
She said Mr Williams was one reporter she knew of and she had discussed some of his articles in college. She said: “He was one reporter I would have been happy to speak to.”
The tribunal heard Mr Williams first met with Ms D’s parents on March 5 – while she was at college – and then on March 8, 2014, she gave him an interview when he called to her house.
Ms D said she did not speak to any other journalists in 2014.
Asked if anyone prompted her to speak with Mr Williams, she said: “No, I wanted to speak to him myself.”
And asked if she discussed meeting with Mr Williams with anyone other than her family, she said: No.
Under cross-examination from Michael McDowell, SC, for Sgt McCabe, Mr McDowell read a section of transcript of Ms D’s interview with Mr Williams.
Mr McDowell said Ms D told Mr Williams that a lot of gardai in Baileboro/Cavan district are upset, questioning their own work, doubting themselves and their own ability and that the Garda family in the tight-knit division had been ripped apart.
Mr McDowell said Ms D told Mr Williams that people were afraid to speak to each other, didn’t know who to trust and that Sgt McCabe had ruined the careers of a lot of gardai and retired gardaí.
“He is not a nice man, Paul,” the tribunal heard Ms D told Mr Williams.
Mr McDowell asked Ms D who specifically she was referring to when she told Mr Williams that Sgt McCabe had ruined careers.
Ms D said:
“Honestly I don’t know who I was specifically referring to. Perhaps that was a flippant remark. I don’t have specific names.”
Mr McDowell put it to Ms D that, at that time, nobody was accepting Sgt McCabe’s allegations and that, in fact, he was the man who was being ostracised, yet she was saying he had ruined a lot of careers.
Ms D said as it was more than three years ago when she made this claim, she couldn’t recall what she meant by saying it.”
Mr McDowell said: “You must have meant something.”
She replied: “I don’t recall.”
Mr McDowell suggested to Ms D that perhaps she was referring to her father, Mr D.
Ms D said: “No, he didn’t ruin my father’s career.”
Mr McDowell put it to her that Mr D was removed from the crime investigation section after Sgt McCabe took disciplinary action against Mr D and others back in January 2006. Mr McDowell reminded her that this happened 11 months before she made the allegation against Sgt McCabe.
Ms D said that timeline of events was “correct”.
The tribunal heard Ms D say that while speaking with Mr Williams and telling him she was “very unhappy with how her complaint was handled”, Mr Williams suggested to her that, if she had a complaint, speaking to GSOC was an avenue for her to pursue if she so wished.
Under cross-examination from Mr Fanning SC, for Mr Williams, Ms D was asked if it would be fair to say that, during her and Mr Williams’s interview, Mr Williams referred to GSOC in the course of a question but didn’t advocate what route she take. Ms D said that would be fair.
When Mr D was asked about how Paul Williams came to contact his daughter, Mr D explained that it came as a result of a conversation he had with Det Supt John O’Reilly.
While Mr D couldn’t recall the date of his encounter with Det Supt O’Reilly, he said he believed Ms McCann had called to the house before his conversation with Det Supt O’Reilly.
Mr D told the tribunal that he and Det Supt O’Reilly had been friends for 25 years and that they met up regularly. He said he couldn’t recall if they had this particular conversation about Ms D in either of their houses or if it was over a pint.
Mr D told the tribunal that he remembers Det Supt O’Reilly asking him how Ms D was coping with all the media attention Sgt McCabe was getting at the time in early 2014. The tribunal heard Det Supt O’Reilly knew of the 2006 allegation.
“I said not very well, she’s frustrated, she just feels that this side of McCabe has just been brushed under the carpet, her voice is lost and she’d love to speak to somebody,” Mr D told the tribunal.
Mr D said he told Det Supt that journalists had contacted the D family unsolicited but that he counselled his daughter to be wary.
Mr D told the tribunal that Det Supt O’Reilly asked if she would speak to someone like Paul Williams. He said he replied that he didn’t know but that he’d say it to Ms D. He told the tribunal that he said to Det Supt O’Reilly maybe he (Det Supt O’Reilly) could contact Paul Williams and he (Mr D) would ask Ms D if she would like to speak to Mr Williams
The tribunal heard Det Supt O’Reilly gave Mr D the phone number of Mr Williams and Mr D subsequently contacted Mr Williams and arranged for Mr Williams to call to the D family home.
Under questioning from Michael O’Higgins, for the Garda Commissioner, Mr D was asked if he had any sense that Det Supt O’Reilly was “sent to you with a view of smearing” Sgt McCabe.
Mr D said: “No, I know him 25 years. I genuinely believe the man was trying to help, as I would do if the situation was reversed.”
In response to questions under cross-examination from Michael McDowell, Mr D said Ms D was very angry that Sgt McCabe had been getting “unlimited praise” in media around this time of March 2014.
He said: “Despite my own reservations, she felt strongly that she wanted to meet someone, so I gave her the number of Paul Williams.”
Mr McDowell asked Mr D about his contact with Mr Williams. Mr D said, as far as he could recall, he rang Mr Williams to tell him where the D family lived and he called to house where he spoke to Mr and Mrs D briefly. They then organised the interview with Ms D for a Saturday.
The tribunal heard Mr Williams subsequently visited the home on a Saturday, with a videographer, and talked to Ms D in the sitting room privately.
Mr McDowell recalled what Ms D told Mr Williams in relation to the claim Sgt McCabe was “tearing the Garda family in Baileboro/Cavan apart” and that he “ruined” the careers of certain gardaí. Mr McDowell asked Mr D if this was something Ms D had heard from him (Mr D).
Mr D conceded that Ms D may have heard him say a few guards had gotten in trouble but he said he would never have used the word “ruined” and that he would never had said anything that strong.
Meeting Micheál Martin and Alan Shatter
The tribunal heard about how Ms D went on to meet the leader of Fianna Fáil Mícheál Martin and met with former Justice Minister Alan Shatter in 2014.
In relation to her meeting with Mr Martin, Ms D said Mr Williams told her it was Mr Martin who had given the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny Sgt McCabe’s dossier of allegations of Garda misconduct in relation to Cavan/Monaghan [on February 19, 2014].
Ms D said, at this time, she felt her case wasn’t investigated properly and that she felt her case was more serious than some of the cases Sgt McCabe was claiming needed to be looked at.
Asked if she could recall Mr Williams giving her a lift to meet with Mr Martin, Ms D said she couldn’t recall that.
Later in the tribunal, Mr Fanning, SC, for Paul Williams, put it to Ms D that, according to Mr Williams’ statement, he collected Ms D from a train station and brought her to the Dáil to meet Michael Martin. Mr Fanning said Mr Williams claims he also collected her after the meeting and brought her back to the train station.
Ms D conceded that that was possible as she would have been travelling up from the south east.
Ms D explained that she went on to meet Alan Shatter, who resigned as Minister for Justice on May 7, 2014, after Mr Williams contacted her and told her that Mr Shatter was aware of the situation and wanted to speak to her about the matter.
Ms D subsequently met Mr Shatter on June 17, 2014 in the Merrion Hotel in Dublin for an hour and a half.
Ms D was asked what her did she understand to be the purpose of that meeting and she started to cry.
She told the tribunal: “I was there because Micheal Martin did nothing after I had met with him. I wanted my case to be reinvestigated, the way the case was handled to be looked at. I felt nobody seems to be listening to me so I felt Alan Shatter might be able to do something.”
Mr McDowell later told the tribunal that Mr Shatter later called for Ms D’s allegations to be investigated.
The tribunal heard Ms D made a statement to GSOC on July 3, 2014. Her father Mr D also made a statement to GSOC, the tribunal heard.
In her statement, among other matters, Ms D told GSOC that Mr Williams told her senior members of An Garda Siochana and in the Government were aware of her allegations.
Under cross-examination Mr McDowell recalled how Ms D indicated to GSOC that Sgt McCabe “had been hanging around the girl’s secondary school in suspicious circumstances”. She told GSOC that this was something Det Supt O’Reilly told her father.
Mr McDowell asked Mr D if Ms D had heard that from him?
He said: No.
Mr McDowell then recalled Ms D’s other claim to GSOC that “another young woman in Clones made a similar allegation about Sgt McCabe” and went on to ask him if Ms D had heard that from him.
Before Mr D could answer, Mícheal O’Higgins SC, for the Commissioner, interrupted to ask Judge Charleton if these were questions that Mr McDowell should have put to Ms D, as opposed to Mr D.
Mr Charleton said the questions were relevant.
Mr McDowell continued. “So none of that came from you?”
Mr D admitted that he did tell her he’d heard a rumour, or a “whisper”, from a retired guard that some girl in Clones had made an allegation. Mr D told the tribunal he doesn’t know where the retired guard heard it from and that he might have mentioned it “in passing” to his daughter.
However, Mr D repeated that he would not have told her any rumour about Sgt McCabe at the girls’ secondary school.
He told the judge that the rumour in relation to Clones “was put to me was a whisper”.
At another stage in the tribunal’s proceedings, Mr D was asked if he was involved in any campaign to discredit Sgt McCabe and he said: “Absolutely not. My only concern was, and still is, my daughter. She was extremely distraught at the time.”
Mr McDowell also asked Mr D why neither Ms D nor Mr D mentioned to GSOC about the “monumental cock-up” of August 2013 when Ms D’s allegation was mixed up with an allegation of rape.
Mr D said: “Because I thought it had been dealt with.”
One matter that Mr Williams had reported in his articles on Ms D (though unidentified) was that her allegation was never put on PULSE. Mr McDowell asked Mr D if this was something he informed Ms D and GSOC of and he said: Yes.
Mr McDowell asked Mr D if he was aware that the sergeant who conducted the investigation at the time, in 2006, said he was not putting it on PULSE. Mr D said he was not aware of that.
Mr McDowell asked Mr D if he accepted that the sergeant was “attempting not to give undue circulation of the incident”.
Mr D replied:
“I don’t accept that. If an allegation is made to An Garda Siochana, you’re obliged to record it on PULSE.”
Mr McDowell asked Mr D if it would be fair to say that, from the beginning of 2006 onwards, he and Sgt McCabe were on poor terms.
Mr D said he wouldn’t use that phrase but he said they weren’t friends.
In relation to the disciplinary procedure of 2006, Mr D said it “wasn’t Sgt McCabe’s fault what happened, it was my own fault.”
The tribunal heard that Ms D also wrote to Sean Guerin in early 2014 about her allegation from 2006.
She said she understood that Mr Guerin was undertaking an investigation into Sgt McCabe’s dossier and that she couldn’t understand why her case could not be included.
“I felt it should have been included,” she said.
Mr D being informed by Supt McGinn
Readers will recall how the tribunal has already heard how Mr D was shown the incorrect Tusla referral by Supt Leo McGinn in “early May”. He can’t recall the specific date.
This was his statement which he largely repeated while giving evidence yesterday:
“Early May, my superintendent, Leo McGinn, asked me did I have a minute. I went into his office. He handed me a HSE referral form and asked ‘is that your lassie? I said ‘yeah, that is her’. I saw the detail of the allegation, digital penetration. I couldn’t believe it. I got a fierce shock. I couldn’t think straight. I felt had she told the counsellor this and not told us. Had this actually happened. She had maybe told the counsellor but had not told us. I was sick to my stomach. I couldn’t wait to get out of the office.”
“I didn’t say anything to Leo McGinn as I didn’t know what was going on.”
The mistaken referral implied that Ms D was accusing Sgt McCabe of rape. Mr D told the tribunal he “almost collapsed” when he saw the allegation.
Mr D subsequently set out to contact his daughter who was in the south east of the country at the time by calling her but that she could be bad at responding to calls at the best of times. Yesterday, the tribunal heard Mr D couldn’t recall if he spoke to her on the same day he found out or if it was the day after.
Mr D told the tribunal that he was relieved that the rape allegation had nothing to do with her.
Asked if he contacted Supt McGinn to tell him this was a mistake, he said: “I don’t remember. I recall I would have contacted Supt McGinn and told him it was incorrect.”
Asked when he told Supt McGinn this, Mr D said: “I don’t remember.” However, he said: “I remember speaking to Leo McGinn and saying it’s an almighty cock-up.”
Asked if he could recall a conversation with Supt McGinn as to whether the error had been fixed or if any new corrected notification had come in, Mr D said: “I don’t chairman.”
Mr D was asked if Supt McGinn ever showed him a correct referral and Mr D said “a few weeks later” he could recall Supt McGinn saying ‘this is a new referral’.
However, Mr D couldn’t recall if Sutp McGinn showed him the corrected referral or if he had just told him.
Asked if he believed the error had been corrected, Mr D said: “Absolutely.”
Mr D told the tribunal: “If there’s a mistake of that magnitude, I just presumed it would be fixed. I couldn’t conceive it wouldn’t be fixed.”
Under cross-examination from Michael McDowell SC, for Sgt McCabe, Mr D was asked if it ever occurred to him that it was extraordinary for Supt McGinn to show him this referral and that it was none of Supt McGinn’s business to draw Mr D’s attention to it. Mr D said he believed Supt McGinn showed it to him out of “common decency” and that they had been working together for four years.
Mr McDowell said: “This is no criticism of you…it was a huge breach of confidentiality to bring that form to your attention.”
Mr D said he didn’t accept that as it was about his daughter.
Mr McDowell asked if Supt McGinn knew of the 2006 allegation Ms D had made against Ms D and he said: “Not to my knowledge”. Mr D also confirmed it was the first time he interacted with Supt McGinn in relation to Ms D.
Mr McDowell asked Mr D if, once he spoke with Ms D and learned that the rape allegation was a mistake, did he go back to Supt McGinn and tell him the referral was wrong.
Mr D said that, from his memory, whether it was the next day, or the following Monday, he would have told him this was a monumental cock-up.
Mr D added: “I can’t honestly remember did he know at that stage or did he undertake to contact Tusla.”
Ms D was also asked about the time she learned of he error.
She said as soon as she received the call from her father, she could tell he was agitated and that he, more or less, asked her, “what the hell have you said to this counsellor?”
She said she didn’t know what he was talking about and when he explained to her what he read on the Tusla referral, she said became livid, upset and stressed. She said she told her father she never used the words pertaining to Ms Y’s allegation of vaginal and anal digital penetration.
Asked what she did on foot of getting this call from her father, Ms D told the tribunal that she believes she rang Ms Brophy to inform her of the error but said she doesn’t have “full recollection” of that call.
She said she knows she told the tribunal’s investigators that she didn’t have contact with Laura Brophy but that she’s seen documentation and notes by Ms Brophy with details of phone calls that they shared after Ms D informed her of the error.
Readers will recall that the tribunal has already heard evidence from Ms Brophy that she had two phone calls with Ms D on May 14, 2014 and then another phonecall on May 16, 2014
The May 16 call was in respect of the stated knowledge of the superintendent in Baileboro Garda Station.
Ms D said:
“I’m not saying I didn’t but I don’t remember those calls. I don’t recall speaking with her. She said she has notes. I can’t say I didn’t but I don’t recall making those calls myself. I don’t disagree with her but I don’t recall what was said.”
Ms D was also asked about a letter that Ms Brophy told the tribunal she sent to Ms D on May 16, 2014. Ms D said: “I never got that letter.” She said the first time she saw that letter was when she met investigators of the tribunal.
Asked if anyone else got the letter, she said: “Definitely not, definitely not.” She added that if her parents had received it, they would have sent it on to her.
Under cross-examination from Mr McDowell, he said to Ms D that Ms Brophy has given evidence that, on May 16, 2014, Ms D told her the superintendent in Baileboro was unaware of the error and that the superintendent was due to meet with “the Garda Commissioner” (the tribunal has heard it’s understood this might actually refer to area commissioner or assistant commissioner).
The tribunal has also heard that, on foot of this knowledge that the superintendent wasn’t aware, Ms Brophy sent a letter, by registered post, to the superintendent.
Mr McDowell asked Ms D if it was Ms D who asked Ms Brophy to send the registered letter but Ms D said “I can’t recall making that call”.
Mr McDowell continued and put it to Ms D that if it had been a suggestion made by her, it would have been a strange thing to ask unless “you were getting a request from somebody else”.
Ms D repeated that she didn’t recall saying that.
Mr McDowell asked Mr D if he would have told Ms D to tell Ms Brophy to send a registered letter and Mr D said: No.
Mr McDowell pointed out that an average person would not start talking about registered letters and Mr D accepted the point.
Mr McDowell also put it to Mr D that it was “remarkable” that Ms D was able to tell Ms Brophy that the superintendent wasn’t aware of the error.
Mr D told Mr McDowell: “It is and it wasn’t me.”
Mr D also said that the reference Ms Brophy made to the “commissioner” also did not come from him.
Ms D was asked about her knowledge of what happened in relation to the referral containing the digital rape allegation after she informed Ms Brophy of the error.
Ms D said: “Once I bought the error to her [Laura Brophy’s] attention, I assumed the error would be fixed and that would be the end of it. I was never informed of what happened.”
Asked if she ever wondered what happened, she said: “To be honest, I imagine, once the call was made, I believed that was the end of it. I was [in the south east] and wanted to get on with my life.”
Asked if her father ever told her if the error was remedied, she said: “I can’t recall.”
Asked if she hoped or assumed the matter was remedied, she said: “I assumed Laura Brophy would have corrected her error and that that would have been the end of it.”
Mr McDowell asked when she became aware that a corrected Garda referral had been made, Ms D said: “I can’t recall when or if I had known there was a corrected referral sent in.”
Mr McDowell asked Ms D if she’s aware now that a corrected referral was sent to Tusla, and she said: Yes.
Mr McDowell then said: “You cant tell us when you first became aware?”
She said: “Yes.”
While cross-examining Mr D, Michael McDowell, for Sgt McCabe, asked Mr D if he ever thought to wonder what was going to happen with the corrected referral.
Mr D said: “No I didn’t.” He said this was because the matter had been referred to almost 10 years previously, had gone to the DPP and so he “didn’t expect any action on it”.
Mr McDowell also brought Mr D’s attention to May 7 – when Supt McGinn first got the referral with the wrong digital penetration allegation and how he immediately wrote to Chief Superintendent Sheridan, suggesting that an investigation take place into the matter or that it be handed over to the cold case.
Mr McDowell asked Mr D if Supt McGinn ever indicated to Mr D that he was going to “haul that back in” once it was known that the rape allegation was an error.
Mr D said he presumed Supt McGinn would have done this once the error was known.
Mr McDowell highlighted how while Ms D made a complaint to GSOC and met with Michael Martin, Mr D was also claiming that she wanted didn’t want it to go to Tusla or the gardai and that she wanted to move on with her life.
Mr D said: “She didn’t want the allegation investigated again, she wanted the investigation investigated.”
Ms D was also asked about the letter Tusla social worker Kay McLoughlin sent to her in May 2015 seeking an appointment with Ms D on June 2, 2015.
Readers will recall how Ms McLoughlin has already told the tribunal how she sent this letter.
Ms D said she remembered her mother calling her to say a letter had arrived from Tusla and asking her if she (Ms D) wanted her to open it and read it to her.
Ms D said, from what she could recall, the letter said an appointment was being made for her, for June 2, 2015, and that they wanted to discuss something with her.
Ms D asked her mother to call Ms McLoughlin to find out what it was about and Ms McLoughlin told Mrs D that she needed to speak with Ms D directly.
Ms D said she couldn’t recall the full conversation but she does remembering asking “what in god’s name did they want to discuss?” – as this was a year after she made Tusla aware of the mistake that they had made.
She also said she couldn’t understand why Tusla would want to discuss a complaint she had made almost 10 years previously.
Ms D told the tribunal she didn’t attend the meeting.
In July 2016, Ms D moved home.
The tribunal heard Ms D was sent a letter from SART in August 25, 2016. She said she couldn’t recall receiving that letter but she does recall saying she didn’t want to follow up the matter with SART.
She said she wanted to put a lid on the matter and move on with her life.
Asked about the letter that Sgt McCabe was sent in December 2015, which Mr D saw through the tribunal investigation, and if he was shocked by its contents, he said: “Absolutely horrified. I still find it unbelievable.”
The tribunal continues today with evidence from Paul Williams and Debbie McCann, staring from 10am.