Monday 23 April 2018

Partner of whistleblower 'left home voluntarily three times'

Garda Keith Harrison and partner Marisa Simms arrive at the tribunal yesterday. Photo: Collins
Garda Keith Harrison and partner Marisa Simms arrive at the tribunal yesterday. Photo: Collins

Gerard Cunningham

The partner of a Garda whistleblower voluntarily left home on three occasions, the Charleton Tribunal has heard.

Hugh Hartnett SC said that his instructions from his client, Marisa Simms, were that she was not thrown out - but had voluntarily left "on approximately three occasions" after rows with Garda Keith Harrison.

Mr Hartnett said it was Ms Simms's habit to go to her mother's home after a row. He also said Ms Simms was not saying that Gda Harrison had threatened to burn her or her children.

The tribunal heard from Ms Simms's mother, Rita McDermott, who made a statement to gardaí in October 2013 reporting the alleged threats made by Gda Harrison.

Ms McDermott said that she did not remember if she had told gardaí in 2013 that Gda Harrison threatened to burn Ms Simms and her children, and she did not remember saying he "could drink a bottle of brandy while you'd blink".


Ms McDermott agreed that a lot of what she had said in her statement was not what she had witnessed herself, but information she was told second or third hand.

Questioned by Mark Harty SC, on behalf of Gda Harrison, Ms McDermott said that her attitude to Gda Harrison had changed since 2013.

She said that since he had gone on sick leave with An Garda Síochána, he was taking care of both his own and Ms Simms's children from her previous marriage.

"He's a very good stepfather, the children love him," Ms McDermott said.

Earlier, the tribunal heard that a report which was sent to Gsoc by Donegal gardaí, outlining alleged threats, was not an official complaint.

Mr Harty said that the correspondence sent to the Ombudsman Commission did not constitute a complaint as defined in the Garda Síochána Act.

The tribunal continues.

Irish Independent

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