Okornoe v Minister for Justice and Equality

JurisdictionIreland
CourtHigh Court
JudgeMr. Justice Richard Humphreys
Judgment Date15 Feb 2016
Neutral Citation[2016] IEHC 100
Docket Number[2016 No. 28 J.R.]

[2016] IEHC 100

THE HIGH COURT

JUDICIAL REVIEW

Humphreys J.

[2016 No. 28 J.R.]

BETWEEN
JACOB LAWERH OKORNOE
APPLICANT
AND
MINISTER FOR JUSTICE AND EQUALITY
RESPONDENT

Asylum, Immigration & Nationality – S. 15 (1) (b) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956 – Reasoned decisions

Facts: The applicant sought leave to seek judicial review of the order of the respondent refusing the applicant's application for naturalisation. The respondent contended that since the applicant failed to disclose that he was investigated in relation to an offence of sexual assault, his application for naturalisation was refused. The applicant contended that the respondent acted under the assumption that the term ‘offence’ meant that the respondent was guilty of the offence.

Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys refused to grant leave to the applicant. The Court held that the applicant had failed to make an arguable case warranting the grant of leave. The Court found that in the present ex-parte application, the applicant had not revealed that he was questioned and investigated in relation to an allegation of sexual assault notwithstanding the fact that he was subsequently acquitted of those charges. The Court held that the administrative decision-makers were bound to give reasoned decisions but not the reasons for not waiving relevant conditions.

JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice Richard Humphreys delivered on the 15th day of February, 2016
1

In this application for leave to seek judicial review, the applicant challenges a decision of the Minister dated 23rd October, 2015 refusing his application for naturalisation.

2

The applicant is a national of Ghana residing in the State. He was convicted of driving without insurance on 2nd February, 2006, and fined €200. An allegation of sexual assault against a female person was made against him in connection with an incident that occurred in 2010. The applicant, who bears the burden of proof and indeed also a duty of full disclosure in an ex parte application, has not thought it necessary to inform me in the grounding papers as to when he was questioned or investigated in relation to this alleged sexual assault. However, in the ordinary nature of things, I would infer that in the absence of material to the contrary, such investigation was more likely than not to have been in 2010. The fact that the applicant has not provided evidence that the investigation post-dated his application for naturalisation would only reinforce that inference.

3

On 19th August, 2011, he completed an application form for naturalisation. In response to the question as to whether he is or had ever been the subject of an investigation in Ireland by the Garda Síochána, he answered ‘ no’.

4

On 1st February, 2013, he was acquitted of sexual assault in the Circuit Court. No application to redact his identity in the context of the present proceedings was made to me. I am not aware that any such application was made in the context of his trial.

5

By decision dated 23rd October, 2015, his application for naturalisation was refused. It is a statutory condition of such applications that the applicant be of good character (s. 15(1)(b) of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1956, as substituted by s. 4 of the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 1986).

6

The Minister's analysis of the naturalisation application concluded ‘ given the nature of the offences and that the applicant failed to disclose the offences on his application form, I am not satisfied that the applicant is of good character’.

7

Mr. James Buckley, B.L., on behalf of the applicant submits that there is an error in the reasoning on the grounds that the use of the...

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4 cases
  • JO (Nigeria) v Minister for Justice and Equality
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 11 November 2016
    ...requirement under s. 15 of the 1956 Act. He relies on a number of cases, including M.A.D. v. MJE [2015] IEHC 446 and Okornoe v. MJE [2016] IEHC 100, to outline the procedure through which criminal convictions should be considered in the context of a naturalisation application. He submits ......
  • A.A. v The Minister for Justice and Equality
    • Ireland
    • Court of Appeal (Ireland)
    • 29 October 2019
    ...thereby actively chose not to invite the Minister to engage s. 16 of the 1956 Act. 68 In Okornoe v. Minister for Justice and Equality [2016] IEHC 100, Humphreys J. rejected the same argument as a “contention that a decision is arguably invalid because the Minister could have decided not to ......
  • Martins v The Minister for Justice and Equality
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 2 May 2018
    ...condition or conditions and to provide a statement of reasons where such a waiver is refused. 84 Okornoe v. Minister for Justice [2016] IEHC 100 (Unreported, High Court (Humphreys J), 15th February, 2016) concerned an application for leave to seek judicial review of a decision to refuse na......
  • Balchand v Minister for Justice and Equality
    • Ireland
    • High Court
    • 4 March 2016
    ...consider whether to waive reasons that she has decided upon (as discussed in my judgment in Okornoe v. Minister for Justice and Equality [2016] IEHC 100 (15th February, 2016) or a court has to set out reasons for not suspending a sentence it has decided upon ( Maher v. Minister for Defence ......

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