The applicant, an Afghan national, arrived in the State and was refused leave to land. When questioned, he said he had a forged Iranian passport for which he paid $11 000 and that his real ID was in Afghanistan. The Garda concluded that the applicant had made no reasonable efforts to produce identification and that he was in possession of forged identification. The applicant was detained under Section 9(8)(c) and (f) of the Refugee Act 1996, i.e. because he had “not made reasonable efforts to establish his or her identity” and because he “without reasonable cause has destroyed his or her identity or travel documents or is in possession of forged identity documents.” The applicant contended that “without reasonable cause” referred to both destruction of identity documents and to possession of forged identity documents. On the face of the detention order, the respondent had deleted that part of Section 9(8)(f) that stated “without reasonable cause has destroyed his or her identity or travel documents”. When brought before a District Judge, the District Judge stated that the applicant was a thief and a liar and the applicant was detained. The applicant had not, however, been shown the relevant information and reports.
The application was construed by the Court as an investigation under Article 40 of the Constitution and the Court held that the applicant had not been placed on notice of the full case against him, that there was no evidential basis to warrant the comments made by the District Court Judge, that the want of fair procedures that occurred in the District Court was such as to render the proceedings unfair and that as the District Judge had failed to set out a clear evidential basis for detention pursuant to Section 9(8) of the Refugee Act 1996, the respondent had failed to establish that the Judge had acted within jurisdiction. The Court declined to make a finding regarding the interpretation of Section 9(8)(f) in light of the doctrine of judicial restraint.