Thursday, November 10, 2022

Gordon Deegan

A South African man who has claimed that he would face persecution or serious harm if returned to South Africa as he is white, has been granted temporary permission to remain here for two years.

The man has secured the temporary permission to remain here for two years from September this year despite being initially refused an application for international protection by the Department of Justice and The International Protection Appeals Tribunal upholding the Department’s refusal.

Now, the High Court has dismissed the man’s judicial review application of the tribunal’s ruling.

In her written judgement, Ms Justice Siobhán Phelan dismissed the man’s application for a judicial review after concluding that the Tribunal made “a rational decision” and it has not been established the Tribunal ruling was unreasonable.

Ms Justice Phelan stated that the justification of the Tribunal decision has been set out in a cogent and clear fashion.

The man arrived here in September 2018 and claimed to authorities here that if he returned to South Africa, he would face persecution and/or serious harm due to the fact that he is a white man.

The man contended that crime is out of control in South Africa, and he fears that he will be killed, as others have been, if forced to return.

In support of his application the man described a number of different instances where he or members of his family had been attacked and/or robbed over an approximate ten-year period including incidents involving injury due to the discharge of firearms.

Some of these incidents were reported to the police and others were not. In the case of incidents which had been reported, the man claimed that the police response was ineffective.

Complaint of discrimination

The man’s grounds before the tribunal also included his complaint of discrimination against white people in South Africa.

Immediately prior to his departure for Ireland, the man claimed to have been pulled over by police who subsequently abused and robbed him.

However, the man was first refused international protection here as it was considered that South Africa has been designated a safe country of origin, and it was concluded that the man had not submitted any serious grounds for considering that it was not a safe country of origin in his particular circumstances in terms of his eligibility for refugee status.

It was also concluded that the man had not established a well-founded fear of persecution nor substantial grounds for believing that he would face a real risk of suffering serious harm if returned to South Africa.

The tribunal stated that it accepted the man “has been the victim of a number of these disturbing crimes himself” and in respect of the police in South Africa accepts “that there are many corrupt policemen in South Africa, who themselves commit crimes”.

However, Ms Justice Phelan stated that the Tribunal decision “also evidences the existence of bodies in place to monitor, investigate and prosecute corrupt police officers and documents the conviction of State officials for corruption”.

The Tribunal found while the man would be exposed to criminal activities on his return, as he has in the past, and this could amount to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment “it has already been found that there is effective State protection in South Africa in respect of the Appellant’s fears in respect of criminal activities”.

The letter advising the applicant of the temporary grant of permission from September of this year told him “please note that if you are continuing with your application for international protection, you will remain an applicant for the purposes of the International Protection Act 2015 and, as such, you must not leave or attempt to leave the State without the Minister’s permission”.

The basis of the decision to allow the man to remain here on a temporary basis was not disclosed in the written High Court judgement.

The Department of Justice and The International Protection Appeals Tribunal sought an adjournment of the High Court judicial review application based on the temporary grant of permission.

However, the man’s legal team successfully resisted the application for adjournment stating that their client remained anxious to pursue his protection.

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