Arrest of woman due to wed not unlawful

Sat, Mar 10, 2012, 00:00

A HIGH Court judge has dismissed claims that the arrest of a Nigerian woman for deportation this week was unlawful. The arrest took place just days before her planned wedding to an Irishman.

Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said the fact the woman was engaged and about to marry an Irish citizen did not automatically confer upon her a right to stay here.

The case related to Gloria Asemota (19), who was due to marry Andrew McHugh (43), Lady’s Lane, Waterford, next Thursday, March 15th, in the registrar’s office in Galway. However, she was arrested early this week and brought to Dublin airport. She has been deported to Lagos.

The couple had informed the Minister for Justice last December of the arrangements for their marriage and had requested that the deportation order on Ms Asemota be revoked, the court heard. That request was turned down by the Minister on February 14th.

A challenge to the legality of her arrest, brought by the couple under Article 40 of the Constitution, was rejected yesterday by Mr Justice Hogan. He said the fact a couple is about to get married and one of those is an Irish citizen does not automatically give a right to stay in this country. While he had some degree of personal sympathy for the couple, who met 18 months ago, he had to apply the law.

He said the arrest was not rendered unlawful merely because Ms Asemota was about to marry Mr McHugh. The only information available to the Minister for Justice was that the couple were about to get married. The Minister was not informed of the couple’s personal history, genuine tie of friendship, responsibilities and financial matters. It was only on the basis of such information that the Minister could have weighed the rights of the couple against the rights of the State in relation to the control of illegal immigration.