High Court dismisses gay man's challenge against State refusal to grant him asylum

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, arrived in Ireland in 2018 from Georgia
High Court dismisses gay man's challenge against State refusal to grant him asylum

High Court reporters

The High Court has rejected a gay man's challenge against a decision denying him international protection and asylum status in the State.

The man, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, arrived in Ireland in 2018 from Georgia.

He applied for international protection from the International Protection Office (IPO). His application was refused.

He appealed that decision to the International Protection Appeals Tribunal.

In its ruling last year, the Tribunal upheld the IPO's decision that he is not given refugee status nor subsidiary international protection.

The man, who is aged in his 20s, then brought High Court judicial review proceedings against the Tribunal, Ireland and the Attorney General, seeking to have the refusal set aside on grounds including that certain findings made by the tribunal in relation to his claim were irrational.

The application was opposed.

'Contradictory accounts'

Giving judgement in the matter, Mr Justice Anthony Barr dismissed the man's action after holding that he had brought his challenge outside of the legal time limits allowed.

The man, the judge said, brought his action over 50 days outside of the window allowed and was clearly out of time.

The judge noted that the IPO, in assessing the man's credibility, found that in his submissions to it he had given contradictory accounts of his previous relationships and in relation to his work and education.

The IPO had adverse findings in relation to the applicant’s knowledge, or lack thereof, of Identoba, the high-profile pro-LGBT group which organised the demonstration that he attended 2013.

The report also found no grounds upon which to base the man's fear of persecution, should he be returned to Georgia.

The IPO found the applicant had not established a well-founded fear of persecution to acquire refugee status, as required under immigration laws.

Risk of torture

The IPO found that the applicant would not face a real risk of torture, inhuman treatment or punishment, degrading treatment or punishment if returned to his country of origin, based on information available about Georgia, which was to the effect that Georgia was a safe country for people of the applicant’s sexual orientation.

On that basis, the IPO refused to recommend any subsidiary protection declaration in respect of the applicant, the judge noted.

The man's lawyers claimed that there was no reason why he should remember the name of the body that organised the demonstrations.

He also claimed that the delay in bringing the challenge was excusable on the ground that it was due to other commitments his counsel had.

His counsel, the judge said, had accepted responsibility and said the man was not at fault.

In his ruling, the judge said that the reasons given for the delay were lacking in detail and the man was bound by the actions of his agent.

Given the circumstances and in particular the significant delay in the case, the court was not prepared to extend time to allow the man to bring his challenge.

While that brought the action to a conclusion, the judge added that it rejected the man's claims that the Tribunal's decision was irrational or that the Tribunal had acted in breach of fair procedures.

The conclusions it drew regarding the man's claims were entirely lawful, the judge concluded.

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