PETER Fox might have exaggerated the number of church sex abuse victims and clergy he said he had interviewed in order to promote himself to the investigating team, an inquiry heard yesterday.
Giving evidence to the Special Commission of Inquiry into how police handled the investigation into the alleged cover-up of sex abuse within the Catholic Church, Detective Inspector Graeme Parker told the inquiry that he had "never been sure" that police received all the information that Mr Fox had collected during his own investigations, alleging that he may have secretly held on to some material.
Later, when cross-examined by Mr Fox's barrister Mark Cohen, Mr Parker said Mr Fox had spoken in public on numerous occasions and indicated that he had interviewed a number of alleged victims and members of the clergy.
But Mr Parker said reports of such things were never produced by Mr Fox in those numbers.
"To be honest, I have no idea what Mr Fox has," Mr Parker told the commission.
Mr Parker came under repetitive questioning from an impatient Mr Cohen, prompting Mr Parker to reply "hold your bowlies" as he flicked through the pages of his statement.
At one point, when Mr Cohen asked why Mr Parker described the investigation of child abuse matters as "undesirable", he snapped back.
Mr Parker conceded that police rarely enjoyed success in prosecuting the perpetrators of historic child sex abuse, but "that's not to say they don't give 100 per cent effort".
"Most detectives would regard [investigating] child sex abuse as rather unsavoury," he said.
"Most are married men with children who find it particularly abhorrent.
"If they could avoid [having to work on such cases], they would, but they can't and they do them to the best of their ability."
Mr Parker also told the commission of his contact with Newcastle Herald journalist Joanne McCarthy who he said had assisted the police investigation into child sex abuse, particularly in 2011.
"Her motives were very transparent and honourable," he said, "but she was also servicing her occupation so I was [careful about what I told her]."
Earlier, Detective Chief Inspector Wayne Humphrey told the commission his investigations weren't deterred by the Church's might.
Mr Cohen asked Mr Humphrey if there was an unwillingness within the Newcastle police command to take on the Catholic Church after they had received a report from journalist Joanne McCarthy that alleged impropriety by senior Church members.
"There was certainly no reluctance on my part," Mr Humphrey said. "I was happy to take on the Catholic Church."
This part of the inquiry, before Commissioner Margaret Cunneen, is due to wind up this afternoon.