The High Court has dismissed Donegal-based Garda Keith Harrison’s bid to have findings made by the Disclosures Tribunal against him quashed.
Garda Harrison, who was strongly criticised in the tribunal’s interim reports, brought proceedings that centred over an alleged prior professional interaction between the tribunal chair Mr Justice Peter Charleton and a witness Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn.
The alleged prior engagement, which led to a claim of objective bias, related to when Chief Superintendent was the Gada liaison to the Morris Tribunal which considered allegations about gardaí in Donegal, in 2002-05 when Mr Justice Charleton was that tribunal’s Senior Counsel.
In her judgement today, Ms Justice Aileen Donnelly said she was satisfied to dismiss the action on the basis that “no reasonable person could have a reasonable apprehension of bias based on the overlapping working period” when Judge Charleton and the Chief Superintendent worked at the Morris Tribunal.
The judge noted that the claim being made was one of objective bias only and that there was no suggestion made by Garda Harrison’s lawyers that Mr Justice Charleton was in any way actually biased in the findings he made in the interim reports.
Garda Harrison had sought an order quashing findings made the Tribunal’s second interim report and the findings of the third interim report in so far as it relates to him.
He claimed the Tribunal rejected allegations made by he and his partner, Marissa Simms, and had exonerated others they had made complaints about.
Their claims included that Ms Simms was compelled by gardaí to make a statement against Garda Harrison which led to a Tusla referral.