O. -v- MJELR & Anor, [2008] IEHC 425 (2008)

Docket Number:2007 24 JR
Party Name:O., MJELR & Anor
Judge:Edwards J.
 
FREE EXCERPT

THE HIGH COURT

JUDICIAL REVIEW2007 24 JR

IN THE MATTER OF THE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS (TRAFFICKING) ACT 2000, SECTION 5 AND IN THE MATTER OF THE REFUGEE ACT 1996 (AS AMENDED)

BETWEEN

V.O.APPLICANTAND

THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE, EQUALITY AND LAW REFORM AND THE REFUGEE APPEALS TRIBUNALRESPONDENTS

JUDGMENT of Mr. Justice John Edwards delivered on the 25th day of November, 2008

Introduction

The applicant in this case is Nigerian. She is a member of the Ebo/Igbo tribe and comes from Benin City. She is seeking asylum in the State and has applied for refugee status on the grounds of her membership of a particular social group. The second named respondent in this case, namely the sole member of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, issued a negative decision in respect of the applicant's appeal against a recommendation of the Refugee Applications Commissioner that she should not be regarded as a refugee. The second named respondent's decision was given on the 16th November, 2006, and notified to the applicant by a letter dated the 29th November, 2006. The applicant seeks leave from me to apply by way of judicial review to challenge the negative decision of the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. She seeks that pursuant to s. 5 of the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act 2000.

Background to the Case

At the time of the proceedings before the RAT the applicant was eighteen years of age. She arrived in Ireland in January, 2006 and applied for asylum on the 27th March, 2006. She claims that her parents died when she was three years of age. Her parents' names were G. and S.O. She was adopted thereafter by her father's brother, R. She was raised by this man and his wife. She received a primary education only. She was badly treated by her uncle and his wife and they never treated her as their own child. In 2004, she was informed by her uncle that she would have to marry a Chief called Danny, who was 30 years older than she was. A dowry was paid by this man. She said that her uncle threatened her that if she left the house of this man that her uncle would kill her. She claims that she had no say in the matter and could not object to the marriage. She moved into the house of this man. She lived with him for two months between April and May 2005. No marriage ceremony was actually performed during this period, but she indicated in evidence that she believed it was due to take place in November. She eventually decided to run away and did so with the help of church people. She said that she decided to come to Ireland because she had no where to run to in Nigeria. She claimed that people were not helpful in Nigeria and that she could not get help there. She fled to Ireland and now seeks asylum here on the grounds indicated.

The applicant's case was considered by the Refugee Applications Commissioner, who decided that there were numerous credibility issues surrounding her testimony tending to undermine her case. Moreover, the Refugee Applications Commissioner, as he was obliged to do, had regard to s. 11(B) of the Refugee Act 1996, as amended, in considering the issue of the applicant's credibility. Section 11(B)(c) provides that account should be taken of whether the applicant has provided a full and true explanation of how he or she travelled to and arrived in the State. The Refugee Applications Commissioner regarded the applicant's testimony in relation to how she had got to Ireland to be unsatisfactory. The Commissioner found her to be not credible in all the circumstances in addition, and in any event, the Refugee Applications Commissioner, applying a forward looking test, came to the conclusion that the applicants alleged fear of persecution in the event that she was required to return to Nigeria was not well founded. In the view of the Commissioner, the applicant could return to Nigeria without a fear of persecution for a convention reason, including the reason put forward, namely membership of a particular social group. The applicant was dissatisfied with the s. 13 report prepared by the Refugee Applications Commissioner, and the...

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