Sgt Maurice McCabe (foreground) on the third day of the Disclosures Tribunal on January 24.
From 10am in Dublin Castle.
The legal teams for the various witnesses to the Disclosures Tribunal will give their submissions to chairman of the tribunal Supreme Court Judge Peter Charleton in respect of the evidence heard since January.
Olga Cronin will be tweeting live here.
The evidence has primarily focussed on the O’Higgins Commission of Inquiry.
This is because Judge Charleton is tasked with deciding whether the former Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan inappropriately relied upon false allegations of sexual abuse or any other unjustified grounds to discredit Sergeant Maurice McCabe at the O’Higgins commission.
Readers will recall the O’Higgins inquiry looked at allegations of poor policing in the Cavan/Monaghan area made by Sgt McCabe, with Judge Kevin O’Higgins overseeing 34 days of privately held hearings from May 14, 2015 until December 17, 2015.
At the outset of the commission, on May 15, 2015, Colm Smyth SC, for Ms O’Sullivan, retired Chief Supt Colm Rooney, Supt Michael Clancy and Supt Noel Cunningham told Judge O’Higgins that it was his instructions – as re-confirmed twice that afternoon by Ms O’Sullivan – to challenge the integrity, motivation and credibility of Sgt McCabe.
Mr Smyth would later – in November 2015 – tell the commission that in respect of him having previously stated it was his instructions to challenge Sgt McCabe’s “integrity” – this was an error on his part.
But he maintained it was his instructions to challenge Sgt McCabe’s motivation and credibility – as a means to “test the evidence” of Sgt McCabe.
It should be noted that, during the entire time of the commission, Sgt McCabe was never made aware that a wholly false allegation of child rape was sitting in a file in the then Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan’s office.
This false allegation of rape came about in August 2013, after a woman referred to as Ms D – who made an allegation against Sgt McCabe in 2006 which was found to have no foundation by the DPP – spoke to a HSE counsellor in 2013 about the matter.
The 2006 complaint referred to an allegation of ‘dry humping’ which she told gardai happened in 1998, when she was around six, during a game of hide and seek.
When the complaint was made, in December 2006, it was 11 months after Ms D’s father, a Garda colleague of Sgt McCabe, was disciplined for arriving at the scene of a suicide drunk and whom Sgt McCabe told to leave the scene.
After Ms D spoke to the counsellor in August 2013, the matter was erroneously sent to Tusla – erroneous because the matter had already been investigated by the gardai and was found to have no foundation – but it was conflated with a rape allegation wholly unrelated to either Ms D or Sgt McCabe and it sat there until May 2014, when it was further conflated and sent to An Garda Siochana shortly after articles appeared in the Irish Independent about Ms D and her 2006 allegation against Sgt McCabe.
The articles didn’t contain the names of those involved or the geography but when Sgt McCabe gave evidence to the tribunal he said he knew the articles written by Paul Williams were about him and he said he got texts and calls from people who also knew they were about him.
After the false allegation was sent from Tusla to the gardai and travelled up to Ms O’Sullivan in May 2014, it sat in a file in Ms O’Sullivan’s office up until the start of the tribunal last year.
During the closing submissions of the Tusla module at the tribunal last month, Judge Peter Charleton referred to the false allegation as “horrible” and he posed the following to the counsel for An Garda Siochana:
“I’m told, on the one hand, that the Commissioner simply read through it making absolutely no comment and not in any way reacting to it, and secondly, I am expected to accept that she has absolutely no recollection of reading it.”
In his response to Judge Charleton, Mícheál O’Higgins SC, for Ms O’Sullivan, said:
“…the relevance of the letter was not evident to her when it was brought to her attention…”
It should be noted that Ms O’Sullivan has told the tribunal that, although she can’t recall reading the false rape allegation, she was never corrected on it and that she was never told that the material sent to her contained a major error.
And yet, she also told the tribunal that back in 2008/2009 – when she was an assistant commissioner in Human Resource Management – she knew of Ms D’s allegation against Sgt McCabe. Continue reading