A senior NSW detective said he made allegedly illegal recordings partly because a widower scrutinised over the disappearance of toddler William Tyrrell may take his own life, a court has heard.

Former detective chief inspector Gary Jubelin, who oversaw the search into the NSW boy's 2014 disappearance, is contesting allegations he illegally used a recording device to record private conversations in 2017 and 2018.

Downing Centre Local Court heard on Monday Jubelin's interview with NSW Police Professional Standards Command investigators in February 2019.

"I thought it was necessary in the circumstances," the 57-year-old Jubelin told the internal police 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.

William Tyrrell disappearance inquest Sydney NSW Coroner

The court has heard the Kendall-based Mr Savage, 75, was subject to listening device surveillance at times.

But Jubelin's phone, with which three of the recordings were made, was not detailed on the warrant's supporting documentation.

Defending his decision to record at the widower's home in May 2018, Jubelin said Mr Savage had previously made incorrect allegations against the officer.

"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."

Asked if he was thought his phone had been included on warrant documents related to Mr Savage, Jubelin said: "No, I imagine it wasn't."

"I haven't even put my mind to it. The purpose of the recording was to protect myself," he said.

No one has been charged over the disappearance of William.

Mr Savage told William's inquest in 2019 he'd done his best to tell police his recollections, including participating in interviews and walk-throughs when detectives arrived unannounced at his home.

Jubelin, who quit the force shortly after charges were laid, used much of the two-hour interview to put his decisions "in context".

The 34-year police veteran addressed disharmony in the Tyrrell strike force he'd led since 2015, detailed at length his suspicions about Mr Savage and alleged the complaints against him were "vexatious".

Jubelin also revealed he and his deputy, Detective Sergeant Craig Lambert, almost came to blows in 2018 in a NSW Police headquarters meeting room over his continued scrutiny of Mr Savage.

He said he asked other investigators to step outside when Det Sgt Lambert, the designated officer in charge, said "you're just picking on him" in a briefing.

"It's a particularly difficult investigation," Jubelin said.

The hearing continues.

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Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/william-tyrrell-police-taping-gary-jubelin-court/114c5464-2c8d-4023-83cf-ea8baf9f3098

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