Charleton Tribunal hears how complaint against Garda whistleblower was withdrawn by his partner

The Charleton Tribunal has heard details of how a statement of complaint against a garda whistleblower was withdrawn by his partner in early 2014.

Marisa Simms made the statement on January 11, 2014, withdrawing an earlier complaint which detailed allegations of "obsessive" and "irrational" behaviour by her partner, Garda Keith Harrison.

Inspector Goretti Sheridan told the tribunal today that she was contacted on November 27, 2013 by Ms Simms about withdrawing her statement, which she originally made at Letterkenny garda station on October 6, 2013.

Earlier the same month, Inspector Sheridan had been informed that the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) would not be following up on the statement after Ms Simms had told them she did not wish to make a complaint.

The inspector said Ms Simms made no complaint about how she had been treated when making her statement.

In the January 2014 statement, Ms Simms said: "I want to say that everything I told them on October 6, 2013 and that recorded in the statement is true."

Keith Harrisonand Marisa Simms arriving at the Disclosures Tribunal. Pic: Rollingnews.ie

"These things did happen and I was honest in what I told them at the time," the statement said.

"Today, January 11, I wish to inform you that I no longer want to pursue a complaint about Keith Harrison. I wish to withdraw the statement I made on October 6."

Inspector Sheridan said it was not true that she had a pre-prepared statement for Ms Simms.

The Inspector also said it was "totally incorrect" that she told Ms Simms to "think of her children" when told that Ms Simms wanted to withdraw her statement.

"Marisa is a lovely girl and I have no doubt she is a good mother so I have no concern of her as a mother," Inspector Sheridan said.

In an email to Chief Supt Terry McGinn and other officers in 2014, Inspector Sheridan said that Ms Simms and Garda Harrison had got back together at Christmas and were "giving it another go".

Inspector Sheridan told the tribunal that a conference in October 2013 had considered what to do in relation to the complaint received from Ms Simms.

There was a debate about referring the statement to GSOC, and whether this would be done under Section 85 or Section 102 of the Garda Síochána Act.

The tribunal resumes next week.


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