Disclosures Tribunal: Journalists will not be referred to High Court over refusal to answer questions

Four journalists invoked journalistic privilege

The chairman of the Disclosures Tribunal has said he will not refer any journalists to the High Court to compel them to answer questions.

All witnesses have now given evidence, unless some are recalled or new evidence emerges.

After almost 100 days of evidence, Tribunal chairman Justice Peter Charleton has been hearing submissions on journalistic privilege, after four journalists used it to refuse to answer questions about whether they were negatively briefed about Maurice McCabe.

They were on a list of 12 journalists who Superintendent Dave Taylor said he smeared Maurice McCabe to – none of them have stood up his claims.

Counsel for An Garda Síochána said there were really only two journalists who may have been briefed - as the other two had inferred they hadn’t been.

After hearing submissions, Judge Charleton said that he did not believe journalist Cormack O’Keeffe from The Examiner had anything that could be reasonably regarded as relevant.

As for Debbie McCann from the Irish Daily Mail – Judge Charleton said he didn’t know whether privilege had been invoked honestly – adding that this did not mean she was dishonest.

Judge Charleton said he would not refer the matter to the High Court as he didn’t believe he would get further information by doing so.