Ms Y, asylum seeker refused an abortion, sues State

Woman sought termination after arriving in Ireland pregnant as result of alleged rape

Mr Justice Kevin Cross made an order under the Refugee Act prohibiting the publication or broadcast of any matter relating to the proceedings which would or be likely to identify the woman. File photograph: Thinkstock

Mr Justice Kevin Cross made an order under the Refugee Act prohibiting the publication or broadcast of any matter relating to the proceedings which would or be likely to identify the woman. File photograph: Thinkstock

 

Ms Y, the asylum seeker who unsuccessfully sought an abortion after arriving in Ireland pregnant as a result of an alleged rape, has brought a High Court civil action for damages against the State.

Her action includes a claim for alleged trespass, assault and battery; alleged negligence; and alleged reckless and intentional infliction of emotional harm and suffering.

It also includes a claim for alleged breach of duty; alleged false imprisonment and alleged unlawful deprivation of liberty.

The woman further claims alleged unjustified intentional negligent infringement of, wrongful interference with and/or failure to vindicate her rights under the Constitution and her rights under the European Convention of Human Rights.

The case was before the High Court on Friday via a preliminary application by her lawyers aimed at preserving her anonymity.

Mr Justice Kevin Cross made an order under the Refugee Act prohibiting the publication or broadcast of any matter relating to the proceedings which would or be likely to identify the woman. The judge also allowed the woman to maintain the proceedings under the name Ms Y from Dublin.

The application for anonymity, made under the Civil law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act,was not opposed by any of the State defendants. Counsel for the Attorney General pointed out there are provisions of the Refugee Act restraining any such identification.

In his judgment, Mr Justice Cross referred to an affidavit by the woman’s solicitor in which it was reported Ms Y came to the country in 2014. It was stated she became suicidal when she discovered she was pregnant and said she had been kidnapped and raped in her country of origin.

She sought the termination of her pregnancy but said medical procedures were performed under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 and a baby was delivered by caesarean section.

Mr Justice Cross said he fully accepted, if the woman were identified, that would indeed cause undue stress to her.

While was not happy there was evidence to support the contention she would necessarily qualify under the relevant section of the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act allowing for a person to sue without being identified, he said he did not have to adjudicate on the proper interpretation of that Act as the woman was a person who has sought asylum from the State and been granted it.

Under the Refugee Act, the State was obliged to take all practical steps to ensure the identity of the woman was kept confidential and in particular an absolute prohibition on the publication of any matter likely to lead to members of the public to identify the person as an applicant under the Refugee Act.

Mr Justice Cross said he had no doubt the publication of the woman’s name would result in a breach of the Refugee Act and he granted the order under that Act.