The Refugee Appeals Tribunal refused the applicant’s appeal on credibility grounds, finding that the applicant, who claimed a well-founded fear of persecution on account of her membership of the UFC in Togo, could not be believed in relation to a claim of rape and with regard to her description of her escape from persecution in Togo. The applicant sought to challenge the Tribunal’s decision by way of judicial review.
In granting leave to seek judicial review, the Court acknowledged that the assessment of credibility is one of the most difficult tasks facing the Commissioner and Tribunal but that reliance on what one firmly believes to be a correct instinct or gut feeling that the truth is not being told is an insufficient tool for use by such administrative bodies and that conclusions must be based on correct findings of fact. The Court held that in the instant case even if the applicant’s account seemed somewhat far-fetched the Tribunal could not thereby lightly or automatically completely discount her other evidence including her membership of the UFC and that even if she was not believed on certain matters, those factors alone did not remove the possibility of persecution in the future on account of her political opinion and membership of the UFC. The Court noted that it appeared to be accepted that a standard of proof less than the civil balance of probabilities was appropriate in determining the chances of future persecution.