The Applicant was a Nigerian national who claimed to have been persecuted in Nigeria by reason of his homosexual orientation. He arrived in Ireland in April 2008 and claimed asylum. The Refugee Applications Commissioner recommended that he not be declared a refugee and this recommendation was appealed to the Refugee Appeals Tribunal. The Tribunal affirmed the Commissioner’s recommendation on the grounds that the Applicant was not credible because of inconsistencies in his account and the facts that he could not recall the name on the false passport and that he had not sought asylum in the Netherlands when he passed through a Dutch airport on his way to Ireland.
The Applicant sought the leave of the High Court to challenge the decision by way of judicial review on the ground, inter alia, that the Tribunal had made a finding to the effect that he could safely relocate within Nigeria if he concealed his sexual orientation. It was not accepted on behalf of the Respondent that any such finding had been made, and it was argued that the Applicant’s claim had been dismissed on the credibility grounds alone. The High Court (Smyth J.) accepted the Respondent’s argument, finding that the Tribunal’s decision was based on adverse credibility findings it was entitled to make rather than on any finding with respect to the possibility of internal relocation. In particular, the Court was satisfied that when assessing the Applicant’s credibility, the Tribunal was entitled to have regard to the reason given by the Applicant for failing to claim asylum in the first safe country the Applicant entered since departing his country of origin. The application had been brought nine days outside the 14 day time limit set by the Illegal Immigrants (Trafficking) Act 2000, and, notwithstanding that the fault for the delay lay with the Applicant’s lawyers rather than with him, the Court refused to extend the time for the bringing of the application on the grounds that no arguable case had been made out. For these reasons, the Applicant’s claim was dismissed.