Judge stresses ‘duty of candour’ in dismissing couple’s deportation challenge

Pakistani nationals had asked court to quash decisions of Minister for Justice refusing permission to remain

A High Court judge has dismissed a couple’s judicial review challenge to immigration refusals and deportation orders, while stressing the “duty of candour” litigants are subject to.

Mr Justice Mark Hyland said a failure to comply with the obligation of good faith disentitled the man and woman to the discretionary relief they sought from the court.

In his ruling, published on Wednesday, the judge acknowledged references submitted about both applicants indicated they are of good character, anxious to make a positive contribution to Irish society, and are keen to educate and care for their child in this State. This is to their credit, and his decision to refuse the reliefs does not take away from that, he said.

The Pakistani nationals had asked the court to quash decisions of the Minister for Justice and Equality refusing them permission to remain in this State, as well as subsequent deportation orders.

The judge noted the man married a Slovakian national several years ago when his now-partner (the other applicant) was about three months pregnant with their child.

Through the Garda’s “Operation Vantage”, the marriage was found to be one of convenience, the judge said. It was discovered the applicants were living together with their child, while the man’s EU national wife had returned to Slovakia immediately following the wedding ceremony.

The judge said the couple did not disclose in their respective affidavits that a finding that his marriage was one of convenience had been made.

The man noted in his sworn statement that he had married the woman and was thus granted six months’ permission to remain. He claimed she left Ireland about six months into their marriage, informing him her mother was sick. He said he has had no further contact with her, they are now separated, and he is in the process of obtaining a divorce.

In pursuing a right to remain in this State, the applicants claimed they would be persecuted or killed if returned to Pakistan because they have a child together out of wedlock. The judge noted that, despite the foregoing fear, the man obtained a false marriage certificate for the couple to get a Pakistani birth certificate for their child to enable visits to family.

In dismissing their action, Mr Justice Heslin said the court had an entitlement to expect the applicants would be candid about the relevant facts, but it does not appear they have been.

Further, he said the couple’s challenge was made out of time and they “utterly failed” to demonstrate any flaw in the way the Minister conducted exercises to reach its decisions.