On 16 March 2016, in Sydney's Downing Centre Local Court, magistrate Greg Grogin found there had been ''no element of revenge, payback or retaliation against Ms McCarthy" when NSW State Emergency Service Commissioner Murray Kear terminated Tara McCarthy's employment.
Mr Grogin found there were many factors behind the dismissal of Ms McCarthy by Mr Kear.
"The inability of Ms McCarthy to assimilate into, co-operate within and lead the SES was, I find, the primary and substantial reason for her dismissal by the defendant."
"I am satisfied that the defendant did not dismiss Ms McCarthy as a reprisal, substantial or otherwise, for her making public interest disclosures."
Mr Grogin accepted that Mr Kear had gone to considerable expense and time trying to resolve the toxic relationship between Ms McCarthy and Mr Pearce, and had ultimately moved to sack Ms Mcarthy when the disruption in his executive ranks became too great and threatened to affect the performance of the SES.
Mr Kear was found not guilty of sacking Ms McCarthy because she was a whistleblower.
Before the ICAC finding against him, Mr Kear had a distinguished 34-year career in the NSW public service.
"It's ruined my life," Mr Kear said.
"It's been a terrible journey for my wife, my family ... but what really disappoints me is that it got to this stage, that we had to come to court to prove what was obvious to most people right from the word go."
Mr Kear had faced the prospect of two years in jail.
He said he had lost his job as SES commissioner, he had endured the indignity of his name and photograph being splashed across the media and $160,000 of his life savings had been eaten up in legal fees.
Mr Kear believes that ICAC investigators acted in "bad faith" by not passing on evidence that would have cleared him.
ICAC cost me everything, says exonerated SES chief Murray Kear, Sharri Markson, The Australian, 17 March 2016