A garda told the High Court how he was devastated when he was blamed for allegedly having information that indicated a risk to the life of Latvian woman Baiba Saulite who was later murdered.
Garda Declan Nyhan, who was later cleared in a disciplinary investigation, said he was singled out and the blame was put on him.
Baiba Saulite, a Latvian mother of two, was shot by a lone man as she stood in the hallway of her home at Holywell Square, Feltrim Road, Swords, on Nov 19, 2006. Her sons, aged three and five who were asleep upstairs, had been the subject of abduction proceedings against her husband, who at the time was awaiting sentence.
The court heard that Garda protection had been sought in relation to Ms Saulite prior to her death, but it had been refused.
Garda Declan Nyhan, who is attached to Swords Garda Station, has sued the Garda authorities for alleged bullying and harassment claiming he suffered psychological damage as a result of his treatment at work following Ms Saulite’s killing.
Garda Nyhan, who had been involved in the successful prosecution with Sgt Liam Hughes of Ms Saulite’s husband in relation to the abduction, said he and Sgt Hughes had met Ms Saulite on Nov 14, 2006, at Swords Garda Station in relation to her victim impact statement. Ms Saulite gave handwritten pages to Sgt Hughes. He advised her on making a new one and the original was placed in a locker. Garda Nyhan said he never read the report.
When he went to work the day after Ms Saulite was killed, Sgt Hughes showed him Ms Saulite’s victim impact statement in which a line read “I am scared for my life because Hassan is blaming me for what is going on in his life”.
In June 2007, Garda Nyhan said a disciplinary charge was laid before him that he had possession of information or documents and ought to have known of the real risk to Ms Saulite’s life and that he allegedly failed to take measures that would have been expected.
“I was devastated at the wording. I was being blamed for playing some part in her death. I was crushed, devastated,” he said, adding it felt similar to a manslaughter charge.
In Mar 2008 he relayed his concerns to the disciplinary investigation team.
“There were threats known to the Garda Síochána in relation to Baiba Saulite. It was somebody else who had made the mistake, not myself, which ultimately led to the situation which caused her death,” said Garda Nyhan. He said he and Sgt Hughes were later cleared and found not to have been in breach of regulations.
Garda Declan Nyhan said he was so concerned after Ms Saulite’s murder for his and his family’s personal safety in the days after the murder, he wrote directly to the Garda Commissioner.
He said a garda sergeant was sent to interview him and he thought something would be done, but he never saw the garda again and got nothing back.
Without explanation he said Garda protection which had been placed on his family home on the night of the murder was lifted. “I found it troubling. I felt a growing sense of isolation,” he said.
The case continues today.