Saulite’s husband gets 30 days added to sentence for having phone battery

THE husband of murdered Latvian woman Baiba Saulite has been given an additional 30-day jail sentence after he was convicted of having a mobile phone battery in his underwear while in prison.

Hassan Hassan, aged 40, of Forestfield Road, Swords, is currently serving a six-year jail term for abducting the couple’s two children and handling stolen property.

The Lebanese-born criminal pleaded guilty to having a mobile phone component in his possession, at Cloverhill District Court yesterday.

Detective Garda Karl Murray gave evidence that Hassan had been searched by prison officers in the reception area of Mountjoy Prison on June 5, 2007, in the presence of the jail’s assistant governor.

Det Gda Murray said a mobile phone battery was found in Hassan’s underwear and he had subsequently lost his evening recreation privileges for one week and warned about his behaviour as a result of a disciplinary action by Mountjoy governor, John Lonergan.

Hassan’s barrister, Pat O’Brien BL, said his client was pleading guilty to the offence, although Hassan had denied the charge during an earlier court appearance last month.

Under the Prisons Act 2007, it is an offence for a prisoner to possess or use a mobile phone without the permission of the prison governor. On summary conviction, the offences carries a maximum fine of €5,000 and/or a 12-month jail sentence.

Dressed in a blue sweatshirt, jeans and trainers, Hassan did not speak in the five-minute hearing.

It is also understood that prisoner officers had found Hassan in possession of a mobile phone in early 2007 in Mountjoy before the legislation made possession an offence.

Hassan was transferred from Mountjoy to Wheatfield Prison last April because he had threatened staff and other prisoners. However, he was involved in a violent assault with another prisoner at Wheatfield last month and may be transferred again.

Hassan’s estranged wife, Baiba Saulite, aged 28, was shot dead as she stood in the hallway of her home in Holywell Square, Feltrim Road, Swords, on November 19, 2006, as her two young sons slept upstairs.

Ms Saulite was aware her life was in danger and had been in contact with gardaí about her security. Her solicitor, John Hennessy, is still under Garda protection after also receiving threats to his life.

Although a file was sent to the DPP by gardaí, who have made 21 arrests in connection with the murder of Ms Saulite, nobody has yet been charged.

The Garda investigation found evidence of a sophisticated murder operation involving Middle Eastern criminals, a major, Dublin gang led by murdered crime boss, Martin Hyland, and the Dundon-McCarthy criminal gang. Hassan was one of those arrested during the course of the investigation.

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