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Sunday 20 October 2019

Woman awarded €78k over unlawful garda raid

Judyta Rozmyslowicz
Judyta Rozmyslowicz

The High Court has awarded €78,300 to a woman whose home was unlawfully entered by gardai looking for her boyfriend.

Polish national Judyta Rozmyslowicz (32), of The Grove, Sallins, Co Kildare, sued the Garda Commissioner and Justice Minister for damages for personal injury, trespass and violation of her constitutional right to the inviolability of her home. The defendants denied the claims.

In 2016, the High Court rejected her claim but she appealed and, in 2018, the Court of Appeal overturned that decision. It found gardai had not demonstrated they had a reasonable cause to believe her boyfriend was there to justify forcible entry. It sent the matter back to the High Court for assessment of damages.

Yesterday, Mr Justice Michael Hanna awarded her €50,000 for injury to her foot when gardai pushed her front door as she stood behind it and for distress and upset. He awarded €25,000 for breach of her constitutional rights, along with €3,300 for loss of earnings because she was out of work for six weeks.

The judge said she was an unfortunate victim of an unlawful act by gardai in pursuit of a lawful order in relation to her boyfriend Sebastian Snaidy, who had breached a High Court bail over a warrant seeking his extradition to Poland.

Puppy

The court heard gardai called to the house in July 2012 after he had failed to turn up for a court appearance and an officer had seen his BMW car in the driveway of the house.

The judge said Ms Rozmyslowicz had told the truth and not sought to exaggerate her injury.

Four gardai called to her home and she opened the door slightly and put her foot to it so her pet Staffordshire bull terrier puppy would not run out, the judge said.

One of the gardai claimed to see a curtain moving in an upstairs room but Ms Rozmyslowicz said this was her dog having a look out the window, the judge said.

The judge was satisfied that a female officer "acted with excessive zeal in producing a baton and threatening the plaintiff with handcuffs".

The judge refused an application by Cormac Corrigan SC, for the State, for a stay on the award on the basis the general damages were excessive.

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