Senior NSW detective Gary Jubelin said he made allegedly illegal recordings partly because he feared a widower scrutinised over the disappearance of toddler William Tyrrell might take his own life, a court has heard.
The former detective chief inspector, who oversaw the search into the NSW boy’s 2014 disappearance, is contesting allegations he knowingly used a recording device to record private conversations in 2017 and 2018.
On Monday the Downing Centre local court heard Jubelin’s February 2019 interview with NSW police professional standards command investigators.
“I thought it was necessary in the circumstances,” he told the investigators.
“When you say surreptitiously, it’s like it’s inappropriate. I don’t think it was inappropriate.
“There was nothing I tried to hide or secrete. I think I had a reasonable lawful excuse.”
Jubelin is accused of recording person of interest Paul Savage in November 2017, twice in May 2018 and again in December 2018.
The court has heard Savage was subject to listening device surveillance at the time but Jubelin’s phone, where three of the recordings were made, was not detailed on the warrant’s supporting documentation.
Defending his decision to record Savage, 75, in May 2018, Jubelin said the widower had made incorrect allegations against him previously.
“I recorded the conversation as I went in, again, for my lawful protection,” he said.
“It wasn’t beyond the realm of possibility that he’d commit suicide because of the pressure that was being applied to him.”
Savage lived across the street from William and was among hundreds of persons of interest. Police interviewed several times before May 2018.
Throughout the recordings Jubelin has been charged over, Savage denies any involvement in William’s disappearance. An officer no longer working on the investigation said that based on her limited knowledge Savage was no longer a person of interest.
The hearing continues.
Crisis support services can be reached 24 hours a day: Lifeline 13 11 14; Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467; Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800; MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78; Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636