Refugee claim 'audacious'

 

A CHINESE national who sought refugee status in Ireland after claiming to be a persecuted Christian has been described by a judge as "audacious" in his claims.

Mr Justice Brian McGovern said the asylum seeker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had ultimately admitted he knew nothing about Jesus, the name of Jesus's mother, or where he had been born.

In a statutory questionnaire, he had been unable to state how or where Jesus had died, what miracles he had performed, or anything about the Bible or gospels.

Mr Justice McGovern told Anthony Moore, counsel for the Refugee Appeals Tribunal, that the applicant for asylum had been unable to demonstrate how to bless himself or say the Lord's Prayer, yet he had claimed to have been a Christian in his home country.

The applicant said he had attended "home churches", one of which he had escaped from when Chinese police had raided it and made arrests.

Refusing the 31-year-old chef leave to judicially challenge the tribunal's refusal to grant him asylum, Mr Justice McGovern said the application was devoid of substantial merit.

"The credibility issues are very significant in this case, and his application for refugee status was somewhat audacious to say the least," the judge said.

Jonathan Kilfeather, who appeared with barrister Karl Monahan for the Chinese national, earlier told the court the applicant had left school when he was 14. He had fled his homeland for fear of state persecution because of his Christian beliefs.

Mr Justice McGovern is one of a number of judges sitting during the High Court holidays in an attempt to deal with a backlog of asylum applications.

He awarded legal costs against the Chinese national.