Former garda commissioner Martin Callinan has said he did not put into the public domain a story that Sergeant Maurice McCabe had not co-operated with the internal garda inquiry into the quashing of penalty points.
Under cross-examination by Sgt McCabe's lawyer, Michael McDowell, Mr Callinan was asked about a RTÉ News story from 24 February 2014.
The news report said that Sgt McCabe had been directed to co-operate with the investigation by Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony and did not do so.
Mr Callinan said he certainly did not put that information into the public domain and he said he did not give the information to anybody.
He said the direction was a matter of public record and that he had spoken about it at the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee one month beforehand.
Mr McDowell said the news item was wholly misleading and deeply insulting to Sgt McCabe.
He said it gave the impression that the sergeant had failed to co-operate but that instead, the direction had invited Sgt McCabe to bring any further concerns to Assistant Commissioner John O'Mahony.
He said the story could only have been broadcast on foot of a briefing from An Garda Síochána to RTÉ's Crime Correspondent Paul Reynolds.
Mr McDowell said it was utterly unreasonable to charge Sgt McCabe with non co-operation based on the direction.
Mr Callinan said it was not unreasonable and it was an open invitation. He said that he could not have been any clearer and the sergeant just did not engage.
RTÉ's lawyer, Sean Gillane, said that when Sgt McCabe gave evidence, the sergeant accepted that Paul Reynolds had attempted to contact him and that when he did so, Sgt McCabe declined to give him a response.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton said the item was not within the terms of reference, however he said it could impact the case being made of malice shown to Sgt McCabe.
Mr Callinan also said the impression that former minister for justice Alan Shatter had that Sgt McCabe had not co-operated did not come from An Garda Síochána.
Counsel for Sgt McCabe, Michael McDowell put it to Mr Callinan that he had come to the tribunal to portray that he had great respect for the sergeant and no problem with him, but that the reality was quite different, and that Sgt McCabe had spent a number of years regarded as an outcast in An Garda Síochána.
Mr Callinan said he did not accept this.
Mr McDowell asked the former garda commissioner why he had never talked to Sgt McCabe about the issues he was raising.
Mr Callinan acknowledged that he had not made it his business to talk to the sergeant, but he said that if at any stage Sgt McCabe or his representatives had approached him he would have been open to talking to him.
Mr McDowell put it to Mr Callinan that he could pick up the phone and talk to solicitor Gerald Kean, and that senior gardaí could talk to Sgt McCabe's uncle about the penalty points matter, but that he could not pick up the phone and speak to Sgt McCabe.
Mr Callinan said in the case of Mr Kean and Sgt McCabe's relative both had come forward to make an approach, while Sgt McCabe did not.
The former commissioner rejected suggestions by Mr McDowell that on 23 January 2014, the day of the PAC meeting, he had personally spoken to three people and seriously disparaged Sgt McCabe to their faces.
The tribunal saw copies of correspondence between Mr Callinan and Mr Justice Iarlaith O'Neill as part of a scoping inquiry prior to the setting up of the tribunal.
Tara Burns, Counsel for Superintendent David Taylor, asked Mr Callinan why he did not set out his denial of the allegations of a smear campaign made by Supt Taylor from the offset in that correspondence.
Mr Callinan said he had been trying to establish what precisely the allegations were so that I could respond to them.
Mr Burns asked Mr Callinan if he was concerned that further information would come to light that would cause problems for his denial.
Mr Callinan said absolutely not.
This afternoon, Ms Burns questioned Mr Callinan about his view that Supt Taylor may have brought his allegation about a smear campaign against Sgt McCabe in order to bring down former garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan.
The tribunal is examining Supt Taylor's allegation that he was directed by Mr Callinan to brief the media negatively against Sgt McCabe and that this was done with the knowledge of Ms O'Sullivan.
Ms Burns put it to Mr Callinan that if the Supt was doing this than he might have said that both Mr Callinan and Ms O'Sullivan had directed him to carry out the negative briefing.
Mr Callinan said that was a possibility.
Ms Burns asked Mr Callinan why he did not tell Ms O'Sullivan about his claim that Supt Taylor said during a conversation that he wanted to bring her down.
Mr Callinan said he felt the Supt was just hitting out at what had happened in relation to a criminal investigation into him, and Mr Callinan said he was not going to get involved.
Ms Burns asked Mr Callinan about a conversation he had with RTÉ Journalist Philip Boucher-Hayes, during which the journalist claims Mr Callinan spoke negatively about Sgt McCabe.
Ms Burns asked Mr Callinan if was pursuing a case that Supt Taylor was involved in that.
Mr Callinan said there was no evidence for that.
Ms Burns asked Mr Callinan about reference he made in his evidence earlier to the fact that Supt Taylor had met the TD John McGuinness.
She asked him if he was pursuing a case that Supt Taylor was behind evidence that Mr McGuinness had given to the tribunal.
Mr Callinan said he was making the point that a number of key witnesses to the tribunal were engaging with each other, and that had been on his mind.
Callinan questioned on penalty points story
Mr Callinan has said he did not take up a vendetta against Sgt McCabe because a story had been published that he had his own penalty points cancelled.
Mr Callinan was questioned by lawyer, Mark Harty SC, for journalist Gemma O'Doherty.
The inquiry heard that Ms O'Doherty wrote a story for the Irish Independent in April 2013 that Mr Callinan had penalty points cancelled in 2007 when he was deputy commissioner.
Mr Callinan said he applied for the points to be quashed because he was on urgent operational business.
He agreed that the story was of public interest, but he said he was annoyed because the journalist called to his home and he said the enquiry should have gone to the Garda Press Office.
Ms O'Doherty has told the tribunal that she called to his address to verify that the Martin Callinan who lived there was the same Martin Callinan who was garda commissioner.
He asked Supt Taylor to pass on his annoyance to Independent News and Media and Supt Taylor met with Michael Denieffe, then managing editor of INM.
Mr Harty said that editorial staff came down on Ms O'Doherty like a tonne of bricks and told her she had ruined things and she was a rogue journalist.
He also said that Ms O'Doherty was of the view that animosity increased from An Garda Síochána towards Sgt McCabe following the story.
Mr Callinan said that while the story involved him, he did not take it personally to take up some sort of vendetta against Sgt McCabe and he said that was not true.
Mr Justice Charleton asked where the evidence was that there was a sudden escalation of ire against Sgt McCabe and he said it seemed to be the opposite from the chronology.
Asked if there was anything to back that up, Mr Harty said he did not have a specific item before him.
Lawyer for INM, John Freeman, said there was an unequivocal denial that editorial staff came down like a tonne of bricks and he said no letter was received from Mr Callinan or his solicitors on the issue.
Mr Freeman said that Ms O'Doherty was claiming that her dismissal was significantly contributed to by Mr Callinan.
However, he said his instructions were that the meeting was about the appropriateness of the journalist calling at the home of the garda commissioner. He said her claims would be dealt with and there was an unequivocal denial.
A lawyer for Sgt McCabe said the sergeant did not give out the particular PULSE record.
Asked if he had assumed it was Sgt McCabe, Mr Callinan said it was a possible but he did not know.
Mr Callinan was also questioned by lawyer for RTÉ, Sean Gillane.
Mr Gillane said that when Philip Boucher-Hayes spoke to Mr Callinan before a Crimecall programme in December 2013, the broadcaster wanted to bring three things to Mr Callinan's attention.
These were that the programme had to be relevant and he could not tolerate an agenda set by An Garda Síochána and that An Garda Síochána could not set questions.
Mr Callinan said he accepted that.
Mr Gilllane said that Mr Boucher-Hayes thought that to have an interview without mentioning penalty points or the Smithwick Tribunal report would be ignoring the elephant in the room.
Mr Gillane also said the RTÉ News story by Paul Reynolds about Sgt McCabe's interactions with the O'Mahony investigation was amended when the sergeant made his views known.
Mr Justice Charleton also said that the second part of the direction issued to Sgt McCabe was like an invitation to dinner and was not a compulsion.
He said that did not mean that Mr Reynolds was out to mislead the public.
Callinan rejects he spun a 'web of lies'
Mr Callinan has rejected suggestions that he spun a web of lies around his interaction with people about Sgt McCabe.
He was being questioned by Darren Lehane, lawyer for TD John McGuinness.
Mr Lehane put it to Mr Callinan that he had spun a web of lies around his interaction with people on Sgt McCabe and that is evidence to the tribunal had been an effort to entrap Mr McGuinness within that web.
Mr Callinan said that was absolutely untrue.
Mr McGuinness said he heard Mr Callinan refer to Sgt McCabe and another whistleblower, retired Garda John Wilson, as "headbangers" and that Mr Callinan made reference to Sgt McCabe abusing children, during a conversation after the PAC meeting on 23 January 2014.
Mr Callinan rejects this account and says that Mr McGuinness referred to Mr Wilson as a "header" during the conversation.
The TD also says that during a meeting in a hotel car park on 24 January 2014, Mr Callinan told him that Sgt McCabe had abused his own family and an individual, and that there would be consequences for Mr McGuinness and the PAC if the committee heard the evidence of the whistleblower.
Mr Callinan said this was totally false, and that under no circumstances did he threaten Mr McGuinness.
Mr Lehane put it to Mr Callinan that the fact that he did not take a note or tell anybody else about the interactions in both situation, was simply because they did not happen.
Mr Callian rejected this.
The former garda commissioner was asked about comments he made during evidence yesterday about possible links between Deputy McGuinness, Deputy John Deasy and the Comptroller and Auditor General.
The three men have all given evidence that Mr Callinan made negative remarks about Sgt McCabe to them.
Mr Lehane asked Mr Callinan if he was suggesting that Mr McGuinness in some way contaminated the evidence of Mr Deasy and Mr McCarthy.
Mr Callinan denied this.
He also said he was not suggesting that Mr McGuinness had colluded with Supt Taylor in relation to their evidence.
Mr Callinan said the interactions between the various parties were on his mind.
Mr Justice Peter Charleton put it to Mr Callinan that appointing Supt Taylor to the Garda Press Office must have been one of the worst mistakes of his life.
Mr Callinan said he agreed with that.
Earlier, under questioning from his own lawyers, Mr Callinan said that if he had made the comments about Sgt McCabe that Deputy McGuinness attributed to him, that he would have expected that Fianna Fáil TD to bring that information to the Minister for Justice or the Taoiseach or both.
Conor Dignam, Counsel for Martin Callinan, told the tribunal that of the interactions with four people who say Mr Callinan made negative comments to them about Sgt McCabe, all bar one happened in a public place where other people could have come across the conversation.
The tribunal has heard evidence from both John Deasy and John McGuinness, and the Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy. It will also hear evidence from Mr Boucher-Hayes, about conversations they had with Mr Callinan
The former garda commissioner rejects their accounts of the interactions.
Mr Callinan has concluded his evidence to the tribunal. Hearings will resume next Tuesday when Nóirín O'Sullivan will give evidence.
Additional reporting Sinead Morris