Disclosures Tribunal told Garda Harrison threatened to burn partner

The DisclosuresTribunal has heard that Garda Keith Harrison threatened to burn his partner and her children during an argument.

The threat was reported to gardaí by Marisa Simms'sister, Paula McDermott.

The inquiry is investigating contacts between Tusla and the gardaí in relation to Garda Harrison.

Garda Brendan Mahon told the inquiry that MsMcDermott, called to Letterkenny station on 30 September 2013.

Garda Mahon said that Ms McDermott told him that during a verbal argument between Garda Harrison and Ms Simms on the night of 28 September 2013, he shouted at her that he was going to burn her and her children in the house and bury her - writes rte.ie.

Garda Harrison will tell the tribunal that during the argument he told Ms Simms that because of the actions of her family, she would be the person getting burnt, meaning that she would suffer the consequences.

Garda Mahon said today that MsMcDermott seemed visibly upset and was concerned for her sister.

He said he took it seriously but in order to begin an investigation, Ms Simms would have to make a statement.

Counsel for the Tribunal Diarmuid McGuinness said the threat to burn and bury Ms Simms seemed to be unequivocally a threat to kill her.

Garda Mahon did not enter the incident in Pulse as he said that would be a decision for the Sergeant. He filed a report to Sergeant Jim Collins.

Sgt Collins spoke to Paula McDermott on 1 October. She was getting married three days later.

Sgt Collins said that while the threat was serious, he feared that gardaí were being used as a pawn because Paula McDermott was worried that Garda Harrison would turn up uninvited at the wedding and make a scene.

He told the tribunal that he felt the emphasis was on Garda Harrison turning up and causing a problem.

He said different options were given to Paula McDermott in order to facilitate getting a statement from her sister, but Ms McDermott indicated that no statement would be made before the wedding.

Garda Harrison's lawyer Mark Harty SC said that no Garda spoke to Garda Harrison regarding the threat.

Conor Dignam SC for the gardaí said the matter was immediately referred to the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission.

In addition, an investigation was begun under Garda regulations, but that was stopped by a successful legal action taken by Garda Harrison which prevented statements being taken.

Earlier, Detective Sergeant David Durkin said that in June 2011 he was told by Superintendent Jimmy Coen that Garda Harrison would be transferred to his unit in Donegal town from Buncrana.

The detective said he was told this was because Garda Harrison was in a relationship with Ms Simms, whose brother Martin McDermott was facing trial after the death of a garda following a high speed chase.

Sgt Durkin said that Garda Harrison was mistaken that Sgt Durkin had been involved in extraditing McDermott from Northern Ireland.

Sgt Durkin said Garda Harrison was not treated differently to anyone else in the station party.

He said that in February 2012 he was a witness in a case when Garda Harrison did not have car insurance.

Garda Harrison has said that this case confirmed his suspicions that there was "a concerted effort by garda management in Donegal to scrutinise his every move".

Sgt Durkin said the previous year he had given Garda Harrison a caution over having no car tax, but considered driving without insurance a more serious offence.

In August 2013, Sgt Durkin said he received a phone call from Rita McDermott about her daughter, Marisa Simms.

"She was reporting concerns she had with her daughter and in particular Garda Harrison's relationship with her daughter," Sgt Durkin said.

Rita McDermott told the sergeant that a few days earlier Garda Harrison had thrown Ms Simms out of the family home in her pyjamas in the early hours of the morning, and this was the third such incident in as many months.

Sgt Durkin said he advised Rita McDermott that if Ms Simms "wished to pursue a complaint she would have to go into a garda station and make a formal complaint."

Sgt Durkin said he stressed if children were at risk, "gardaí would be duty bound to intervene".

"She said children weren't in the house, and that alleviated some of my concerns," Sgt Durkin said.

Because the report involved a garda, Sgt Durkin said he thought it was appropriate to report the conversation to his superintendent, Michael Finan.

In September 2013, Sgt Durkin again spoke to Rita McDermott. She told him that Ms Simms wanted Garda Harrison to leave their accommodation in Churchill, Co Donegal, but he was refusing to do so.

Rita McDermott said that it was planned to move Garda Harrison's belongings out of the house when he returned to work from sick leave the following month.

Rita McDermott also told him that Garda Harrison had not been invited to a family wedding, and this was causing extra tension.

Rita McDermott also told Sgt Durkin that Garda Harrison had gone to a Mayo hotel looking for footage of a hen party.

Sgt Harrison said he initially understood that Garda Harrison had presented himself as a garda to obtain footage, but when he interviewed the hotel staff, he was told Garda Harrison did not do this, and had said he was looking for the footage to make a gift showing everyone enjoying themselves.

The tribunal said that if he took this innocent explanation, then this incident was "really a bit of a storm in a teacup."

"Obviously Rita McDermott got it wrong, that is what I am taking from this," the chairman said.

Sgt Durkin said that in October 2013, following threats received by gardaí, Garda Harrison was put on "indoor duty" on instructions from the divisional office.

On 9 May 2014, Garda Harrison approached Sgt Durkin saying he was "a victim of bullying and harassment by garda management", both prior to and after his arrival in Donegal.

Sgt Durkin noted that the report Garda Harrison gave him made no complaints about Donegal town, and asked him if he had any complaints about Donegal town.

"He said no, he hadn't any issues with Donegal town," Sgt Durkin said.

Judge 'disappointed' at lack of instructions to barristers

The chairman of thetribunal has said he is "disappointed" at the lack of instructions to barristers at the inquiry.

Supreme Court justice Peter Charleton said that correspondence was still outstanding to some parties at the tribunal, which began in February.

He said that it was only on Thursday of last week that a reply was received from one party to "highly pertinent" correspondence sent seven months ago.

Barristers had a duty to cross-examine only on the basis of instructions from their clients, the judge said, and were "not entitled to invent defences or put matters at variance with instructions."

He said there was a legal obligation to cooperate with the tribunal, and to put forward the case they were making.

"It has always been part of the law that counsel should put a case as opposed to examining at large," he said.

Read more Dublin news on our site.

rte.ie
IRELAND DISCLOSURES TRIBUNAL CHARLTONTRIBUNAL
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
2 views in december
I recommend
No recommendations yet

Comments

Post your comment to communicate and discuss this article.

Society
Anotorious Estonian hitman who travelled to Ireland to carry out a murder for the Kinahan Gang has been caged for six years. Imre Arakas, who was under garda surveillance, flew into Ireland on a murder mission to take out James “Mago” Gately. The Special Criminal Court was told that Arakas bought a wig in Dublin city and used an encrypted Blackberry phone to receive information about the movements and location of Mr Gately in Northern Ireland. The 60-year-...
Society
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said he was "very satisfied" with the EU's position on the Irish backstop at last night's summit meeting. He said the European Union stands by the Withdrawal Agreement that was negotiated. EU leaders rejected British Prime Minister Theresa May's call for legally binding assurances on the Irish backstop and ruled out any changes to the Withdrawal Agreement. Speaking to reporters on day two of the summit in Brussels, Mr Varadkar sa...
Society
Gardai are appealing for witnesses after a woman was allegedly sexually assaulted in a car in Dublin. The incident happened around Ballsbridge in the early hours of Sunday morning with investigators on the hunt for a man in his '20s or 30s' with short dark hair, a short beard, and glasses. A source told Dublin Live that one theory being explored is that the victim may have been in a taxi at the time. The source explained: "This woman was enjoying a night o...
Society
Gardai have been gathering CCTV evidence at a hotel where an alleged rape involving a well-known sports star took place. Forensic experts and detectives visited the property in South Co Dublin on Tuesday night to hunt for clues. Initially it was believed the incident took place at a south inner-city hotel but after further inquiries it was determined it happened closer to the Dundrum area. A source said: “Detectives and scenes of crime gardai arrived at th...
Society
The plans for the SDCC and Cluid housing social apartments were approved at Monday's full meeting of the council. On Monday, 81 social housing apartments for the elderly on a site beside Tallaght Stadium were approved by South Dublin County Council (SDCC) - writes dublinlive.ie This was despite a campaign calling on the council to save the land which houses a council depot at Watergate Sean Walsh Park. Local groups such as Tallaght Community Council and Ta...
Society
Two people have been arrested following a stabbing incident in Dublin city centre. The incident happened on Essex Quay at around 4.40pm. A man aged in his late 20s was treated at the scene and taken to St James's Hospital with non-life threatening injuries following the incident. A man and woman, both aged in their 20s, were arrested at the scene and are being detained at Pearse Street Garda Station. Gardaí sealed off part of the south quays for several ho...
Society
A kitchen went up in flames yesterday after some Christmas decorations were left on top of a microvwave. The Dublin Fire Brigade had to be called to quell the flames after tinsel caught fire having been left over a mircowave. Firefighters have warned others to be more careful with their decorating saying the tinsel was placed over the microwave's vent causing it to go up once the machine was turned on. They said: "Yesterday, Firefighters attended a kitchen...
Society
A Dublin mother is extremely concerned for the welfare of her 15-year-old son after he never came home from the shop yesterday. Aleksejs Snitko went to the Tesco shop in Balbriggan yesterday, Saturday December 9 at around 4.30pm. His mother Iveta told Dublin Live that when her son left the home, he was wearing light grey basketball shoes, tight sport trousers and a warm navy jacket with a hoodie. He was also carrying a black and blue Puma school bag. The t...
Society
A man and woman were arrested following a stabbing incident that left Dublin city centre on lockdown on Sunday evening. The pair were taken to Pearse st station after another man in his early 20s was hospitalised with 'non-fatal injuries'. It is believed a fight spilled out onto the road with one witness telling Dublin Live that she thought the man was going to be "throw him into the river". She said: "They stopped the traffic while they were fighting that...