Disclosures Tribunal: Forensic examination of devices finds no evidence of smear campaign

12 phones and 8 laptops have gone missing and were not examined

Disclosures Tribunal: Forensic examination of devices finds no evidence of smear campaign

The Disclosures Tribunal sign in Dublin Castle. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

None of the 11 devices forensically examined on behalf of the Disclosures Tribunal have been found to contain evidence of a smear campaign against Maurice McCabe.

The Tribunal is examining claims made by the former Head of Garda Press, Dave Taylor, that he was instructed by Commissioners Martin Callinan and Noirin O’Sullivan to brief journalists negatively about Sergeant McCabe.

But two witnesses from the forensic service of Northern Ireland have not been able to find evidence to back these claims when examining devices used by the Commissioners or Superintendent Taylor.

Forensic Science Northern Ireland was tasked with examining phones, iPads and laptops used by former Commissioners Martin Callinan and Noirin O’Sullivan and of former head of the Garda Press Office, Dave Taylor.

Superintendent Taylor has claimed in a protected disclosure that he was briefed by Commissioner Callinan and/or Noirin O’Sullivan to brief the media negatively about Maurice McCabe.

First Elaine Strachan from FSNI gave evidence of forensically examining eight phones used by Superintendent Taylor and Commissioners Callinan and O’Sullivan, one iPad used by the latter.

None of the devices had any evidence that Supt Taylor was instructed to brief the media negatively about Sgt McCabe.

Two laptops used by Martin Callinan and Dave Taylor and examined by Ms Strachan’s colleague Mark McConnell were similarly found not to contain any evidence of an orchestrated smear campaign.

Mr McConnell went through all relevant Garda information systems too and found no evidence of a smear campaign, but some hits were relevant to Maurice McCabe and these files were handed over to the Tribunal.

The Tribunal has previously heard that 12 phones and 8 laptops sought by the Tribunal have gone missing.