Monday , March 1 2021

Keith Harrison strives to revoke Disclosures Tribunal findings



Garda Keith Harrison has launched a High Court challenge against the chairman of the Disclosures Tribunal, which aims at stopping certain findings in the tribunal's reports.

The Donegal-based Garda, strongly criticized by the Tribunal, has sought a court trial because of alleged former occupational engagement between the tribunal chairman, Justice Peter Charleton and a witness, Chief Supt Terry McGinn.

The alleged earlier engagement was when Chief Supt McGinn was Garda Contact Officer from 2002 to 2005 to the Morris Tribunal, who investigated claims about the gardaí in Donegal. Mr Justice Charleton was the Senior Council of the Tribunal.

Solicitors of Garda Harrison, in the light of this, had written to the Enlightenment Tribunal who attempted to get the reports of their client deposited. The President of the Tribunal refused to say that what was sought was "absurd and disgusting to the people of Oireacht and Ireland".

He added that Supt McGinn's role as a contact person to the Morris Tribunal was independent of this tribunal itself and her involvement with Morris was well-known.

Garda Harrison wishes to punish statements in the second and third sub-reports of the General Court in so far as it concerns him, prohibiting further publication of cases relating to him in these reports and preventing Charleton's dealing with other matters relating to Garda Harrison in the Tribunal .

He claims that the president has acted in breach of his rights to natural and constitutional justice in accordance with the Constitution and Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

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Mark Harty SC, of ​​Garda Harrison, said that the Disclosures Tribunal had rejected statements made by Garda Harrison and his partner Marissa Simms and had freed others whom they complained about.

The couple's assertions included that Ms Simms was forced by gardaí to make a statement against Garda Harrison which led to a Tusla referral. Harty said that Garda Harrison also claimed he was a victim of a five-year scare campaign after arresting a Drinch Career in Athlone 2009.

In an interim report, the tribunal chairman stated that all allegations of Garda Harrison and Simms investigated by the Tribunal were "completely invalid". The chairman also commended the high performance of Chief Supt McGinn and her leadership of the Donegal Division, the Council said.

Chief Supt McGinn was an important witness in relation to issues covered by protected disclosure by Garda Harrison, he said.

Garda Harrison has recently become aware of newspaper reports showing a previous professional commitment, of which Garda Harrison had no knowledge, between the chairman and the chief executive officer.

Permission to bring proceedings has been granted ex-parties (only one side represented) by Justitie Seamus Noonan. The judge was pleased with due diligence for judicial review. The question will return to the court in two weeks.


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