The Garda liaison for the O’Higgins Commission has said he has no recollection that anyone apologised to Sergeant Maurice McCabe after an error was made in a submission about him by the then Garda Commissioner’s legal team.
Chief Superintendent Fergus Healy was giving evidence at the Disclosures Tribunal about the letter submitted on 18 May 2015, which suggested that Sgt McCabe had made a complaint against a senior officer to get something he wanted.
The letter suggested that Sgt McCabe had made the complaint against the officer because he was unhappy that his request to get the DPP’s directions in relation to an allegation made against Sergeant McCabe was refused.
The letter should have read that a complaint was made to and not against the senior officer.
The Disclosures Tribunal is examining whether former garda commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan inappropriately relied on unjustified grounds to discredit Sgt McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission.
Tribunal Chair Mr Justice Peter Charleton asked Chief Supt Healy if anyone apologised to Sgt McCabe after the error was discovered.
Chief Supt Healy told the tribunal that he had no recollection of any apology being given, and he said he did not recall any thought being given to amending the submission containing the mistake.
He said that certainly now he would apologise for it and it was completely wrong.
Counsel for the Tribunal Kathleen Leader asked Chief Supt Healy if Ms O’Sullivan had authorised questioning of Sgt McCabe on the basis of the incorrect submission.
Chief Supt Healy said she did not.
He said Ms O’Sullivan’s instructions were in relation to the advice from counsel that had arisen following consultations in the days preceding the start of the O’Higgins Commission.
This afternoon, Chief Supt Healy described how he was "grilled" at a meeting in Garda Headquarters in May 2016 over the controversy that had arisen over the legal strategy towards Sgt McCabe at the O’Higgins Commission.
Chief Supt Healy told the Disclosures Tribunal that he was called to a meeting in the Deputy Garda Commissioner’s Office, and was asked to prepare a report on what had happened at the inquiry and the instructions given to the garda legal team in relation to the questioning of Sgt McCabe.
Chief Supt Healy was the Garda Liaison Officer for then garda commissioner O'Sullivan at the O'Higgins Inquiry.
He told the Disclosures Tribunal the then Minister for Justice was looking for a briefing from Ms O'Sullivan about what had happened at the O’Higgins Commission.
He said that was why he was being asked to prepare a report.
Lawyers in dispute over McCabe at Disclosures Tribunal
Lawyers for the Garda Commissioner and those representing Sergeant Maurice McCabe have clashed at the Disclosures Tribunal over whether the sergeant was an accuser at the O'Higgins Commission.
Shane Murphy SC for the Garda Commissioner said Sgt McCabe gave evidence in every module of the private O'Higgins hearings and it was "fantastical" to suggest he was not a witness.
Mr Murphy said the sergeant was not a curious bystander and he persisted with his allegations.
He said it was legitimate and reasonable for the Commissioner to challenge this.
Michael McDowell SC for Sgt McCabe disputed Mr Murphy's assertion that the sergeant was a witness and said it was a radical misconception.
Mr McDowell said it was made clear every day at O'Higgins that Sgt McCabe was not the accuser and was present as a witness of fact.
Mr Justice Charleton repeated that the inquiry has ruled out that sexual abuse allegations were relied upon to discredit Sgt McCabe at the O'Higgins Commission.
Additional Reporting Sandra Hurley