Hassan witness out of country, court hears

A man who failed to appear as a witness at the trial in April of his brother-in-law for allegedly threatening to kill his wife has now left Ireland, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told.

A man who failed to appear as a witness at the trial in April of his brother-in-law for allegedly threatening to kill his wife has now left Ireland, Dublin Circuit Criminal Court was told.

Mr Ahmad Elsayed, the husband of Ms Rawaa Hassan, had been summonsed to give evidence in the trial of her brother, Hassan Hassan, who was charged with making the death threat to her and Judge Frank O'Donnell ordered an investigation into the explanation he later gave for his absence.

Garda Nigel Petrie told Judge O'Donnell today that he had been informed Mr Elsayed had "to return urgently to the Lebanon" due to the illness of a relative and he could not therefore interview him as directed by the court.

Judge O'Donnell adjourned the hearing on to a later date.

The jury in the April trial was directed by Judge O'Donnell on day-six of the hearing to find Hassan Hassan (aged 38) of Forestfield Road, Swords not guilty of threatening to kill his sister at her home on August 9, 2005.

Judge O'Donnell said he directed the "not guilty" verdict because Mr Elsayed and his 15-year-old daughter were not available to give evidence and in his opinion their evidence was vital to allow the jury to determine the guilt or innocence of Hassan.

Hassan's wife, Ms Baibe Saulite, a Latvian national, was shot dead at her Rivervalley Close home in November 2006.

Hassan was jailed for two years last December after he pleaded guilty to the abduction of their two children in December 2004 and had been jailed for four years in March 2006 for his role in a plan to export stolen vehicles to the Middle East.

Mr Elsayed appeared in court on May 2, 2007 and told prosecuting counsel, Mr Dominic McGinn BL, that he was aware the trial had been going on but that nobody had told him when to go to court.

He also said he was sick on the day he was supposed to appear but because he was divorced under Islamic law from Hassan's sister, Ms Rawaa Hassan, at the time and "no longer lived in their family home" he could not ask her to pass on a message to the court.

Mr Elsayed handed in a letter from the Islamic Foundation of Ireland, contents of which were not read in court but appeared to say he had moved out of the family home.

Gda Petrie told Mr McGinn in May that he was aware that Mr Elsayed had claimed he no longer lived in the family home but said that when he called to the house last April, after Mr Elsayed's failure to show up for the trial, his belongings were still there.

Gda Petrie said Mr Elsayed's other children also informed him that he still lived there but was not present at the time and they did not know where he was.

Judge O'Donnell told Gda Petrie on May 2 last to fully investigate the matter and to interview Mr Elsayed and speak to the Islamic Council about the document that "purports to be from them".

"It's not good enough that a man fails to turn up at a case," he said. "The courts cannot be treated in this manner by this man.

He added that it was a different matter for Mr Elsayed 15-year-old daughter and said that no investigation should be carried out in relation to her failure to attend court.

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