Saturday 23 June 2018

Charleton Tribunal: Garda whistleblower denies threat to 'burn' partner during argument

Garda Keith Harrison and his partner Marisa Simms arrive at Dublin Castle yesterday to hear evidence at the Charleton Tribunal. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos
Garda Keith Harrison and his partner Marisa Simms arrive at Dublin Castle yesterday to hear evidence at the Charleton Tribunal. Photo: Stephen Collins/Collins Photos

Gerard Cunningham

A garda whistleblower has denied threatening his partner during an argument and saying he would "burn her in [her] house with [her] girls and bury her", the Charleton tribunal has been told.

Garda Keith Harrison told his partner Marisa Simms she would "end up getting burnt", meaning she would be injured by the actions of her family, the garda's counsel, Mark Harty SC, told the inquiry. The statement was not intended to be taken literally, said Mr Harty, who is representing Garda Harrison.

The tribunal was told that tensions between the couple had worsened and that Garda Harrison had not been invited to the wedding of Ms Simms' sister, Paula McDermott.

Giving evidence to the inquiry yesterday, Garda Brendan Mahon said he spoke to Ms McDermott when she called to Donegal Garda station on September 30, 2013, concerned about the alleged threat to burn her sister.

Garda Mahon wrote in a note at the time that Garda Harrison had threatened to "burn her in house with girls and bury her". The garda said the alleged threat had happened in a different Garda district, and he wasn't sure about the protocol for dealing with a third-party complaint. This was why he wrote a report but did not make an entry on the Pulse computer system, he said, adding he had consulted with his superior, Sergeant Jim Collins, who advised him to make the report.

Sergeant Collins told the inquiry that in a report to his superiors, he said it could have been that "gardaí are being used as a pawn in this case" and he believed there was a fear that Garda Harrison may turn up at Paula McDermott's wedding and "create a scene".

The sergeant said he had no doubt Ms McDermott had been told of threats by her sister, Ms Simms. The inquiry heard Ms Simms told senior GSOC case officer George O'Doherty on October 11 she did not wish to make a complaint. The tribunal continues today.

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News