Grandfather wanted to 'violate virgin from his bloodline' to cure HIV
A court has granted an injunction stopping the deportation of the parents of two young children who fled Malawi because of an alleged threat by their grandfather to violate "a virgin from his own bloodline".
The threat came from the grandfather after a witch doctor said this would cure his HIV infection, it was claimed.
Despite the parents' subterfuge in trying to avoid deportation, it would be unjust to visit the children with the consequences of their wrongdoing, the Court of Appeal said.
The children are a girl of eight and a boy who is seven and born here but not a citizen. The girl arrived here with her mother in 2008 when she was two and both children are going to school here.
Mr Justice Gerard Hogan, on behalf of the three-judge appeal court, said there is no doubt the children would suffer if "suddenly wrenched from the only environment they have known". One could only "imagine the distress" they would suffer, he added.
The parents had sought the injunction after they failed in a 2009 application for asylum.
They then sought subsidiary protection, which allows someone who does not fall within the definition of an asylum seeker to seek protection on the basis of persecution if sent back to their home country.
They also failed in that application in the High Court and appealed to the Court of Appeal, which granted their application for injunction against deportation pending full hearing of their case.
Mr Justice Hogan said the parents had contended during their asylum application that the wife's father had consulted a local witch doctor in Malawi about his HIV status.
The witchdoctor allegedly said that in order to be cured the grandfather would have to have sex with "a virgin from his own bloodline", the judge said. As a result, the family fled.
A Refugee Appeals Tribunal said the wife's education and profile did not fit the reasons she claimed for fleeing - fear for her own life and that of her daughter. It also did not accept the husband's claims he could not relocate inside Malawi because of the pressure it would put on his wife, who was pregnant with their second child.
Mr Justice Hogan said if one was to look at the parents' position in isolation, he would not be in favour of granting the injunction in view of their efforts to thwart the immigration process. However, the balance of convenience lay in favour of the children remaining in the State.