Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton
At the Disclosures Tribunal in Dublin Castle.
It heard from three witnesses – Tom Brady, former security editor of the Irish Independent; Fergus O’Shea, former deputy news editor of the Irish Sun; and Robert Cox, deputy editor of the Irish Mail on Sunday.
It’s understood, as things stand, these were the tribunal’s final witnesses.
However, Diarmaid McGuinness SC, for the tribunal, did say the tribunal’s legal counsel will have to review things and see if there is any other evidence they feel should be put before Judge Charleton and if there is any possible need to recall any witnesses to give further evidence.
The tribunal heard that, as of this afternoon, there has been no call by any legal team for anyone to be recalled.
Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton also heard submissions from various legal parties in relation to journalistic privilege (see more below).
Before finishing today’s hearing, Judge Charleton listed 20 questions that he said the legal teams may wish to consider ahead of making submissions in relation to the final module.
Judge Charleton said he will meet with the tribunal’s legal team in the Four Courts on Monday morning and then may hear these submissions on Wednesday.
Judge Charleton’s questions were…
1. What kind of talk, communication or innuendo can fairly be said to come within the terms of reference? What is the full extent of any calumny or detraction against Maurice McCabe that should be regarded as proven as a matter of probability?
2. To what extent are political, journalistic and Garda rumours or talk necessarily to be considered?
3. Is there any truth in the protected disclosure of Superintendent Taylor? Is he a witness whose evidence in any respect can be accepted? Should it, as a matter of prudence, be subject to a corroboration/caution warning?
4. Is it possible to tell from a false denial, for instance, but not limited to Superintendent Taylor or to any journalist, that the opposite to an assertion is in fact the truth?
5. Is what Superintendent Taylor claims to have been done on behalf of Commissioner Callinan an understatement of the reality of what he in fact did? Did he do whatever he did at the behest of Commissioner Callinan or did he do it with the acquiescence or any knowledge by Deputy Commissioner O’Sullivan?
6. To what extent, if at all, is the account of Maurice McCabe as to what he was told by Superintendent Taylor reliable and accurate despite any contradiction by Michelle Taylor and Superintendent Taylor?
7. To what extent do Maurice McCabe’s reports of Superintendent Taylor in relation to phones or electronic devices influence Superintendent Taylor’s creditworthiness? Should a preference be made or what might be the effect of making a preference for Maurice McCabe’s protected disclosure?
8. Of what relevance are the allegations of Superintendent Taylor as to his phones and the seizures thereof? That includes all electronic devices.
9. Of what relevance are the allegations of Superintendent Taylor as to Commissioner O’Sullivan, Detective Superintendent McGowan, Chief Superintendent Clerkin and his false High Court application?
10. Why were the disciplinary proceedings against Superintendent Taylor withdrawn and what are the terms of that withdrawal and the termination of the High Court proceedings?
11. Is there any inference to be drawn from changes of phones, loss of computers or phones, or failures to remember pin numbers by Commissioner Callinan, Commissioner O’Sullivan or Superintendent Taylor? Is there any other phone or computer evidence of relevance?
12. To what extent, if any, can the allegations of John McGuinness TD, Philip Boucher-Hayes, Seamus McCarthy, Comptroller and Auditor General, and John Deasy TD be relied on, and even though merely guided by the rules of evidence and not bound by them, is this Tribunal in a position to say that they corroborate or support each other?
13. If these are to be believed or accepted as probable, what is the full extent of the allegation of calumny against Maurice McCabe? Is Superintendent Taylor reducing his role and if so, does this factor lessen or completely dissolve his credibility?
14. What led to the visits of Debbie McCann, Eavan Murray and Paul Williams to the home of Ms. D? In that regard, has journalistic privilege been properly and honestly relied on and is there any evidence proffered by these parties that is reliable? What in truth happened? Did the visits have any Garda inspiration?
15. To what extent, if any, does the evidence of the D family members remain relevant?
16. To what extent is any incorrect invocation of journalistic privilege such as to give rise to any inference, and if so, what inference does any incorrect invocation of journalistic privilege give rise to?
17. What is the relevance of question 5 as to any incorrect or dishonest invocation of journalistic privilege?
18. To what extent do journalistic clashes, seven of them now today, apart from that between Alison O’Reilly and Debbie McCann, require to be resolved or even recorded in a report to the Houses of the Oireachtas? And if so, Why?
19. To what extent does the Tribunal have to report on or comment on political involvement or the actions of any individual public representative?
20. Going through the terms of reference, the parties might be so kind as to precisely and concisely give an answer to what each party regards as having been supported by probable evidence.
After reading out his questions, Judge Charleton said:
“So, that is just an indication of thinking, it is no more than that. It may help, it may not.”
From today’s hearing…
The George Bernard Shaw line, quoted by Judge Charleton was that “the altar upon which Irish martyrs are consecrated is the gallows“.
Judge Charleton also included RTÉ’s crime correspondent Paul Reynolds and Tim Vaughan, former editor of the Irish Examiner, in respect of this point about martyrdom.