A senior New South Wales policeman has denied being concerned about the reputation of senior Catholic clergy in the Hunter Valley when deciding not to investigate some child sexual abuse allegations.
Detective Inspector Dave Waddell has given evidence at the Special Commission of Inquiry.
He was the crime manager at the Lake Macquarie Local Area Command near Newcastle when Detective Chief Inspector Peter Fox claims he was told to stop investigating child sexual abuse by two priests in the area.
Detective Inspector Waddell said the claims were important and serious but not urgent.
The court heard he denies telling local journalist Joanne McCarthy he felt sorry for former Maitland-Newcastle Catholic Bishop Michael Malone.
He said "the reputation of senior clergy was not a consideration".
The inquiry has heard staffing issues may have led to the Sex Crimes Squad not being able to investigate Catholic priests.
Det Insp Waddell told the court that Detective Inspector Paul Jacob from the Sex Crime Squad told him the squad would not be able to assist at the time but could provide consultancy.
He said that could be because of "staffing issues or other ongoing investigations".
Det Insp Waddell denied telling Det Insp Jacob the matter "needed to be handled with diplomacy".
He also denied saying there was no prospect of any criminal investigation as key people were deceased.
Det Insp Waddell told the court he refuted claims he told local Fairfax journalist Joanne McCarthy that it was difficult to prosecute the concealment of serious crimes.
He said previous strike forces had charged people with perverting the course of justice.
The senior policeman said he forwarded allegations of concealment to Newcastle's Local Area Command because "they needed to be looked at".
Det Chief Inspector Peter Fox has been chastised by the Commissioner for an "inaccurate and misleading" tweet about today's proceedings.
The inquiry continues.