Ojelabi v The Refugee Appeals Tribunal and Another

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr Justice Michael Peart
Judgment Date28 February 2005
Neutral Citation[2005] IEHC 42
Date28 February 2005
Docket NumberRecord Number:405 JR/2004

[2005] IEHC 42

THE HIGH COURT

Record Number:405 JR/2004
OJELABI v REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL & MIN FOR JUSTICE

Between:

Olalekan Ojelabi
Plaintiff

And

The Refugee Appeals Tribunal, and The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform
Respondents

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S13(1)

REFUGEE ACT 1996 S13

UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION ON THE STATUS OF REFUGEES 1951

IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM

Asylum

Application for leave - Manifestly unfounded - Failure to allow oral hearing - Credibility of applicant - Leave to apply for judicial review - Leave refused (2004/405JR - Peart - 28/2/2005) [2005] IEHC 42

OJELABI v REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNAL & MIN FOR JUSTICE

Judgment of
Mr Justice Michael Peart
1

The applicant applies for leave to seek reliefs by way of judicial review challenging a decision of the first named respondent dated 2nd March 2004 in which the recommendation of ORAC under section 13(1) of the Refugee Act,1996, as amended, to the effect that the claim by the applicant for refugee status should be refused and that the application was manifestly unfounded, be affirmed, ought to be quashed on the basis that the decision was not reached in accordance with law and on the basis of the actual facts.

2

A consequence of the finding that the application is manifestly unfounded is that the applicant has no entitlement to an oral hearing of his appeal. The Grounds set forth for this relief are numerous, and can be set out in summary form as follows û that the Respondent:

3

1. failed to consider whether the RAC was correct in finding that the applicant was not entitled to an oral hearing.

2. failed to give reasons;
4

3. making unwarranted assumptions concerning the Police and Courts systems in Nigeria;

5

4. failing to consider the well-foundedness of the claim in terms of the subjective and objective elements based on the evidence;

6

5. erred in the manner in which credibility was assessed, and in holding that Northern Ireland was a separate jurisdiction for asylum purposes to the remainder of the United Kingdom;

7

6. Erred in holding that the applicant's wife was his "alleged wife" without giving any reason why the fact of the marriage was to be doubted and why the benefit of the doubt did not apply;

8

7. Erred in failing to state what documentation the applicant ought to have provided and why he should have provided same;

9

8. Failed to consider actual facts regarding policing and the legal system in Nigeria;

10

9. Failing to identify his sources, and in particular whether he was relying upon a decision of the Immigration Refugee Board and the status of same in Irish Immigration Law;

11

10. Failed to give reasons as to why he found the Responses given by the applicant in his Questionnaire and Interview were not supportive of his claim to a well-founded fear of persecution;

12

11. Failed to vindicate the applicant's Human Rights to a fair, impartial and balanced hearing in accordance with law.

13

It is difficult to set out any detailed evidence in relation to this application, because of the sheer paucity of information contained in the documentation forming the basis of the application for a declaration.

14

In his grounding affidavit the applicant states that he is fleeing Nigeria on grounds of religious persecution from which the State of Nigeria will not protect him. He states that he was born a Muslim, but is now converted to the Christian faith and that this poses great dangers for him as a convert to Christianity. He avers that "militant Muslims came to our home to murder us and we had to flee to save our lives." He states also that Nigeria is torn apart by religious strife and refers to some newspaper repports of killings of Muslims by Christians, and to the fact that in some Northern States in Nigeria, Sharia Law prevails since the year 2000. He also says that the police in the Northern States (his State being one of those)"the police and the authorities will be unwilling to or unable to protect Christians." He states at paragraph 9 that the reason he did not complain to the police was that they would not and could not effectively protect him.

15

There is no detail whatsoever concerning the manner in which he was allegedly being persecuted other than what I have set forth. The remainder of the grounding affidavit is concerned more with submissions and general comments about the state of affairs in Nigeria.

16

I have also looked closely at the Questionnaire which he completed on his arrival here in order to find some more relevant and firm detail as to what he says happened to him and/or his family prior to his fleeing Nigeria.

17

He states therein that he is married, but gives the date simply as "2000". Curiously, the dates of birth of his wife, his children, his father and mother and his four siblings are all set out in detail as to date, month and year. However, I just mention that in passing in view of the fact that the RAC refer to his marriage as his "alleged marriage" and his wife as his "alleged wife".

18

When asked at Q. 26 why he feared persecution he replied:

" I fear persecution because it makes me feel insecure, frustrated and dejected in my country of origin. I came from a Muslim home and get to married a Christian lady. I then decided to follow her faith thereby get converted to Christian. Since I get converted my problems began. I was both beaten with my wife and our house was set on fire and my wife had a miscarriage. In short it makes me feel insecure to the extent of running from one place to another for protection. When it became obvious that there was nowhere to get protection and [illegible] that I now know that my wife is in Ireland. I then decided to come to Ireland for security reasons."(sic)

19

In answer to Q. 27 û "what persecution do you fear?" he responded:

"I fear religious persecution from members of my family. I am by birth a Muslim and when I got married I changed to Christian. The society I lived in do not tolerate this kind of arrangement, therefore I was persecuted. Some members of my family colluded with some Muslim fanatics and me and my wife were beaten to the extent that my wife had a miscarriage and I was in a state of coma."

20

In answer to Q. 28 û...

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