Charleton tribunal completes hearings on whistleblower Garda Keith Harrison
Chairman invites submissions from lawyers on the evidence from current module
Garda Keith Harrison and his partner Marisa Simms arriving at Dublin Castle for the tribunal. Photograph: Stephen Collins/Collins Photo
The Charleton tribunal has completed hearings in relation to whistleblower Garda Keith Harrison and invited submissions from lawyers on the evidence it has heard in the current module.
Tribunal chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton outlined the issues he expects barristers to address in their submissions, based on the evidence he had heard.
For the past month the tribunal has examined evidence of contacts between gardaí and the HSE/Tusla relating to Garda Harrison.
Earlier, Sgt Paul Wallace told the tribunal he was asked to conduct a security assessment around Garda Harrison’s home, following threats made against the garda in early October 2013. When he called to see Garda Harrison on Monday, October 7th, 2013 the garda was “quite agitated and nervous”.
Garda Harrison told Sgt Wallace his partner Marisa Simms had told him she had been in Letterkenny court seeking a safety order against him, and had made a statement to gardaí about him.
Sgt Wallace said Garda Harrison said Ms Simms told him that while she was making her statement, Chief Supt Terry McGinn had spoken to her and said that “no guard will treat a woman like that, I will see to that”.
Sgt Wallace said he told Garda Harrison he did not think this sounded like something Chief Supt McGinn would do.
The sergeant said Garda Harrison felt the reason for Ms Simms’s complaint was a misunderstanding over a comment he made to her in the course of a verbal disagreement when he stated, “You will get burnt there”, using it as a figure of speech which Ms Simms took up the wrong way.
Sgt Wallace said he did not assess the seriousness or credibility of the threats against Garda Harrison and his job was to “look at the physical infrastructure” and advise on security measures.
Supt Mary Murray told the tribunal she was appointed by Chief Supt McGinn to conduct disciplinary and criminal inquiries into Garda Harrison on February 10th, 2014. The superintendent said that while she was still preparing for this inquiry, she learned from media reports in May 2014 that Garda Harrison had made a protected disclosure to the Garda confidential recipient.
The witness said she had not been able to contact Garda Harrison as he had been absent from work on leave for much of the period between February and May 2014.
Supt Murray said she did not feel it appropriate to continue her investigations while this process was ongoing.
The tribunal continues.