Garda Declan Nyhan, who is attached to Swords Garda Station, has sued for damages for alleged bullying and harassment. He also alleges he was not paid while he was on sick leave. The claims are denied.
Baiba Saulite, a Latvian and a mother-of-two, was shot by a lone man as she stood in the hallway of her home at Holywell Square, Feltrim Road, Swords. Her sons, aged three and five, were asleep upstairs when the shooting occurred in Nov 2006.
Counsel for Garda Nyhan, Marguerite Bolger SC, said Grda Nyhan, who joined the force in 1991, had an exemplary record. In 1999 he had been injured on duty during a violent fracas and as a result suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. He was stationed at Dun Laoghaire, Dundrum and then Swords Garda Station in the community policing unit from 2004.
Counsel said Grda Nyhan became involved in the investigation into the abduction of Ms Saulite’s two children. The case was successfully prosecuted and Ms Saulite’s husband was sentenced to two years in jail for abducting their two young children and arranging to have them sent to his family in Syria. Counsel said Grda Nyhan did not know at the same time as he was investigating the abduction of the two young children there was also another investigation arising from a complaint by Ms Saulite that she was in fear of her husband and that her husband wanted to kill her.
When he spoke to Ms Saulite she was concerned for the safety of himself and the other officer in the abduction case, and her solicitor. Counsel said Grda Nyhan did not at that time take the threat to his safety seriously. But, counsel said, the case took a tragic turn when Ms Saulite was murdered in her Swords home on Nov 19, 2006.
The High Court heard Garda protection was immediately put on Grda Nyhan’s home.
Counsel said at this stage Grda Nyhan was in extreme fear and was concerned for his and his family’s safety.
He later went on sick leave and was extremely frightened and wrote directly to the Garda Commissioner outlining his concerns. The protection on his house, counsel said, was later lifted.
The court heard he had attempted a return to work on two occasions, but on the second occasion he was put on front-line policing. Counsel said a failure to pay Garda Nyhan his salary while off sick left him feeling completely isolated.
After discussions between the parties yesterday Mr Justice Kevin Cross adjourned the case until today.