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David Taylor will have to pay almost a third of his legal costs over the Disclosures Tribunal

The former head of the garda press office was heavily criticised in the Disclosures Tribunal’s report.

Taylor at Dublin Castle during the sittings of the Tribunal
Taylor at Dublin Castle during the sittings of the Tribunal
Image: Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

THE FORMER GARDA Superintendent who was found by the Disclosures Tribunal to have “aided and abetted” a smear campaign against Maurice McCabe has been awarded 70% of his legal costs. 

David Taylor was heavily criticised in last year’s report from Mr Justice Peter Charleton. He was accused of giving “daft” evidence and of “obvious deceit” in his evidence in the final report.

The Tribunal ultimately found it was “convinced” there was a “campaign of calumny” by former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan against Maurice McCabe, which was aided by former head of the garda press office Taylor “under orders”. 

Taylor retired from An Garda Síochána just a few weeks after the report’s publication.

In May of this year, a hearing was held after a number of people who’d been represented at the Tribunal made submissions to have their legal costs awarded. It’s understood in some cases, these costs would stretch into tens of thousands of euro.

Taylor’s solicitors wrote to the Tribunal and argued that not awarding their client his legal costs “would amount to the imposition of a penalty and would be an administration of justice”. 

“It is further submitted that it would act as a deterrent to any person who wished to report wrongdoing from coming forward in the future,” his solicitors argued.

In his ruling on costs, Mr Justice Charleton noted a number of instances where Taylor “lied” to the Tribunal, including details of a meeting with RTÉ’s Philip Boucher Hayes.

“Evidence which is mistaken remains evidence which does not impact on entitlement to costs,” he said. “Evidence which is rejected does.

What is crucial to Superintendent Taylor is that he stands alone of an indeterminate number in our police force who came forward and told some of the truth. As to the treatment of Sergeant Maurice McCabe, that version can be viewed as containing the gist of the truth. 

Mr Justice Charleton also asks where the public interest would be without the evidence he provided. The Tribunal had been originally set up after a chain of events where Taylor met with Maurice McCabe and told him there’d been a campaign against him directed by Martin Callinan, and Taylor subsequently made a protected disclosure. 

“By going as far as he did, the Tribunal was able to uncover what about his testimony should be rejected and what needed to be affirmed as containing a core of reality and as to what might be inferred by reference to other evidence,” the judge said. 

Taking all this into account, the Tribunal awarded Taylor 70% of his costs.

In a separate submission, Taylor’s wife Michelle was awarded 50% of her costs. Former garda John Kennedy who was a ministerial driver for Pat Rabbitte was awarded a third of his costs.

And John Barrett, who served as the head of HR within the gardaí, was awarded 60% of his costs. 

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About the author:

Sean Murray

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