Sunday 22 September 2019

Garda claims bias and seeks to have tribunal findings quashed

Harrison gets green light to issue challenge over Charleton's prior working relationship with witness

Criticism: Mr Justice Peter Charleton described some parts of Garda Keith Harrison and partner Marisa Simms’s story as ‘nonsense’ in his report. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Criticism: Mr Justice Peter Charleton described some parts of Garda Keith Harrison and partner Marisa Simms’s story as ‘nonsense’ in his report. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins
Shane Phelan

Shane Phelan

A garda has issued legal proceedings aimed at quashing findings made by the Disclosures Tribunal.

Garda Keith Harrison alleges tribunal chairman Mr Justice Peter Charleton was biased, and should have recused himself from a module due to a prior working relationship with a senior garda who gave evidence.

In the High Court yesterday, his legal team was given permission by Mr Justice Seamus Noonan to bring proceedings.

The Donegal-based garda is seeking orders quashing the tribunal's second interim report, published in November last year, and part of its third interim report, published last month.

He also wants an order restraining the judge from dealing further with matters related to him.

Gda Harrison was severely criticised in both reports, with the judge dismissing allegations made by him and his partner Marisa Simms that gardaí had coerced her to make a false complaint against him, and directed Tusla to visit their family home.

Mr Justice Charleton described some parts of their story as "nonsense" and exonerated gardaí and Tusla officials.

But Gda Harrison has now alleged the judge should have recused himself from the module due to a prior working relationship with Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn, the most senior officer in Donegal during the relevant period.

Solicitors for Gda Harrison have written to the judge in recent weeks seeking to have the reports set aside.

In response, the tribunal said the proposal was "absurd and repugnant to the tribunal's duty to the Oireachtas and the people of Ireland".

Irish Independent

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News