D.K. (Ghana) v International Protection Appeals Tribunal

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr. Justice Richard Humphreys
Judgment Date17 January 2020
Neutral Citation[2020] IEHC 14
Date17 January 2020
Docket Number[2019 No. 339 J.R.]

[2020] IEHC 14

THE HIGH COURT

JUDICIAL REVIEW

Richard Humphreys J.

[2019 No. 339 J.R.]

BETWEEN
D.K. (GHANA)
APPLICANT
AND
THE INTERNATIONAL PROTECTION APPEALS TRIBUNAL AND THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY
RESPONDENTS

Immigration and asylum – International protection – Judicial review – Applicant seeking certiorari of the respondent’s decision to refuse international protection – Whether the impugned decision of the respondent was unreasonable or irrational

Facts: The applicant, born in Ghana, came to the State and applied for asylum on 2nd February, 2015. That application was refused by the Refugee Applications Commissioner on 26th February, 2016 by letter enclosing a report pursuant to s. 13 of the Refugee Act 1996 dated 9th January, 2016 which rejected the applicant’s core account. The applicant filed a notice of appeal on 21st March, 2016 and, following the commencement of the International Protection Act 2015 in December, 2016, he was deemed to have made an application for international protection. On foot of that, he submitted his international protection application on 30th May, 2017. That application was refused by the International Protection Office on 20th October, 2017 by letter enclosing a report pursuant to s. 39 of the 2015 Act dated 20th September, 2017 which rejected the applicant’s core account on credibility grounds. On 1st November, 2017 the applicant appealed to the first respondent, the International Protection Appeals Tribunal. An oral hearing took place on 23rd October, 2018. In the meantime, the applicant entered into a relationship with a Nigerian national and they had a child on 27th October, 2018. The protection appeal was refused by the tribunal on 2nd May, 2019 and, following the applicant being notified of that on 3rd May, 2019, he applied for a review under s. 49 (7) of the 2015 Act on foot of the birth of his child. Leave papers were prepared on 30th May, 2019, the primary relief sought being certiorari of the IPAT decision. The High Court (Humphreys J) granted leave on 8th July, 2019. Counsel for the applicant identified three issues in written submissions. The first issue was whether the impugned decision of the first respondent was unreasonable or irrational. The second issue was whether the first respondent failed to take relevant factors into account or took irrelevant factors into account in arriving at the impugned decision. The main focus of this argument was that the tribunal member had not taken into account the secretive nature of funeral practices in Ghana as a matter to be considered when weighing the applicant’s claim that on the death of a tribal chief he would be subjected to a human sacrifice as part of the funeral rites. The third issue was whether the first respondent failed to give adequate reasons for its decision in accordance with the duty to give reasons.

Held by Humphreys J that the applicant had not established that the tribunal’s findings, however unfavourable, were so unreasonable as not to be open to the decision maker. Humphreys J noted that the secretive nature of funeral practices was part of the applicant’s submission, and that the decision said that all matters submitted were considered. Humphreys J held that one could not say under such circumstances that the point was not considered, in the absence of the applicant proving that positively, citing Hardiman J in G.K. v Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform [2002] 1 IR 418. Humphreys J found that there were in essence four reasons given for the decision: (i) the tribunal went through a number of documents and indicated a lack of reference in such country material to the feared ritual killing by way of decapitation that the applicant contended for; (ii) the tribunal noted that country information stated that tribal leaders had “dismissed” perceptions that such ritual killings took place; (iii) country information indicated that such incidents occurred “several decades ago”; and (iv) other country information presented by the applicant was specifically considered and it was explained why that was not supportive of the claims. Humphreys J held that those statements well satisfied the requirements for reasons in the circumstances.

Humphreys J held that the proceedings would be dismissed.

Proceedings dismissed.

JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys delivered on the 17th day of January, 2020
1

The applicant was born in Ghana in 1981. He came to the State and applied for asylum on 2nd February, 2015. That application was refused by the Refugee Applications Commissioner on 26th February, 2016 by letter enclosing a report pursuant to s. 13 of the Refugee Act, 1996 dated 9th January, 2016 which rejected the applicant's core account. The applicant filed a notice of appeal on 21st March, 2016 and, following the commencement of the International Protection Act, 2015 in December, 2016, he was deemed to have made an application for international protection. On foot of that, he submitted his international protection application on 30th May, 2017. That application was refused by the International Protection Office on 20th October, 2017 by letter enclosing a report pursuant to s. 39 of the 2015 Act dated 20th September, 2017 which rejected the applicant's core account on credibility grounds.

2

On 1st November, 2017 the applicant appealed to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal. An oral hearing took place on 23rd October, 2018 at which Mr. Aengus Ó Corráin BL appeared for the applicant; and commendably the applicant's solicitors have instructed the same counsel for the judicial review, which is a practice that both in general and in this specific case very much assists the court.

3

In the meantime, the applicant entered into a relationship with a Nigerian national, a Ms. A.M.O, and they had a child on 27th October, 2018. Apparently they have since separated. A deportation order was made against the mother in June 2019. For some reason which is not altogether clear, the...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT