J. & Anor -v- Refugee Appeals Tribunal & Ors, [2009] IEHC 350 (2009)

Docket Number:2007 1272 JR
Party Name:J. & Anor, Refugee Appeals Tribunal & Ors
Judge:Cooke J.
 
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THE HIGH COURT2007 1272 JR

BETWEEN

  1. J. AND F. P. J.

(A MINOR SUING BY HER MOTHER AND NEXT FRIEND A.J.)APPLICANTSAND

THE REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL, THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM, THE ATTORNEY GENERAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONRESPONDENTJUDGMENT of Mr Justice Cooke delivered on the 21st day of July, 2009.

  1. This application for leave to seek judicial review of an appeal decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal raises two issues: 1) are "good and sufficient reasons" within the meaning of s. 5(2) (a) of the Illegal Immigrants Trafficking Act 2000, shown for the grant of the necessary extension of time to enable the application to be entertained; and, 2) if the application is admissible are substantial grounds in the sense of paragraph b) of that subsection raised for contending that the decision in question ought to be quashed? As the first of these issues involves some consideration of the merits of the case proposed to be made, it is appropriate in this judgment to examine the grounds proposed first.

  2. The first named applicant (hereinafter the "applicant",) was born in Nigeria in March, 1972. She has had education to third level and holds a Masters Degree in business administration from Lagos University. She joined Omega Bank, later Spring Bank, as a trainee manager in 1998 and pursued a successful career with successive promotions until she was appointed Operations Manager of its Otta branch in 2003. In January, 2004 she says she was told by a senior manager that at a forthcoming board meeting she was to be invited to become a member of the society or organisation which, at question 17 of her Section 11 Interview, she named as the "Reformed Ogboni Fraternity". She refused the invitation because she had heard the Ogboni were a cult which engaged in sacrifices and, as a Christian, she considered this would be incompatible with her beliefs.

  3. In May 2004, in advance of the Central Bank audit, reposting exercises were carried out in the branch to cover up inadequacies in the accounts and she was told a large discrepancy was discovered as a result of which she was at first suspended and later asked to leave and her employment was terminated. She believes these matters were contrived as the problems were never notified to the regulatory authority or investigated by the auditors but were designed to get rid of her because of her refusal to join the Ogboni.

  4. It is not disputed that the Ogboni group or network is comprised of members drawn from the elite in the higher levels in financial and commercial institutions in Nigeria. What is in issue is the extent to which the traditional or original Ogboni cult remains a sinister and secret cult capable of violence, as compared with the Reformed Ogboni Fraternity which is considered to be a benign organisation founded in 1914 as an alternative and which is based on tenets compatible with Christian and other non-traditional beliefs.

  5. The applicant is married and has two small sons who remain in Nigeria with their father.

  6. Following her dismissal from the Omega Bank, the applicant found that the shares she was entitled to together with her insurance cover and pension entitlements had been revoked. She also found it impossible to get other employment because the bank would not provide her with a reference. In these circumstances she sought legal advice and on 4th September 2006, lawyers on her behalf wrote to the bank to make her claim for wrongful dismissal and then commenced High court proceedings on her behalf which are still pending.

  7. She says she then began to receive threatening phone calls demanding that she drop the case and a sinister note was passed to her through her son at school. People came to her house while she was out and damaged it and beat her husband. This was reported to the police and a copy of the report on that complaint as recorded in the station diary extract was produced.

  8. As a result of these problems and threats, she says she left Nigeria with the help of her husband and a customer who arranged for her to travel on a false Nigerian passport with an agent who brought her via Dubai and London to Ireland. She arrived on 15th February, 2007 and applied for asylum. Her daughter, the second named...

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