Sunday 25 February 2018

High Court adjourns application to stop woman travelling for abortion

The High Court in Dublin
The High Court in Dublin

Dearbhail McDonald Legal Editor

THE High Court has adjourned the case of a young pregnant woman whose boyfriend wants an injunction to prevent her travelling to the UK to terminate her pregnancy as he believes she is being "forced" to do so by her parents.

The young woman was served with notice of the application to stop her travelling earlier today and has no legal representation, High Court Judge Ms Justice Mary Laffoy has heard.

Earlier, the Office of the Attorney General said it had no role to play in the action as the rights involved were of a private nature and the boyfriend was not seeking to prevent the young woman from travelling to terminate the pregnancy if that was her wish.

The young man and woman sat beside each other in the High Court this afternoon as the boyfriend's lawyer sought a direction from the court to facilitate an interview with a forensic psychiatrist to ascertain the girl's wishes.

Senior Counsel Seamus O'Tuathaill, for the man, said he wanted an opportunity for a replying affidavit (court statement) and a psychiatric report.

The case has been adjourned until Friday morning to allow the girl to receive legal advice.

The man has claimed that he fears his pregnant girlfriend is being brought by her family to the UK against her will to undergo an abortion.

He has asked the High Court for a number of injunctions preventing his girlfriend from undergoing an abortion or from leaving the jurisdiction until it can be ascertained if she is acting of her own free will.

The couple, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, are both foreign nationals but have been residing in Ireland.

In an affidavit to the court the man said his girlfriend "is happy to be pregnant" and "never expressed any desire to have an abortion," but her family are of the view she will be "ruined" if she has a child with a non-white man.

He says her true intentions are that she she registered with a maternity hospital, and was looking forward to have a scan in the near future. She also went buying baby clothes for the child.

This morning (WED) Seamus Ó Tuathail, for the man, said his client discovered that his girlfriend has been booked into a clinic in the UK and was due to undergo a procedure on Thursday.

His client is of the view that his girlfriend is being forced to undergo the procedure by her parents.

Ms Justice Mary Laffoy granted the man permission to bring proceedings to serve short notice of proceedings against his girlfriend aimed at preventing her from leaving the jurisdiction and undergoing an abortion until it can be determined if she is acting of her own free will.

Leave was granted on an ex-parte (one-side only represented) basis. The Judge also directed that the Attorney General be made a notice party to the proceedings.

In his proceedings, the man seeks orders restraining his partner from having an abortion or from leaving the jurisdiction until the High Court can ascertain whether she is acting of her own free will. The matter is due back before the courts later today.

He further seeks an injunction restraining her parents from conveying her out of the jurisdiction until the court it can be ascertained if she is acting of her own free will.

The man, in asking the court to vindicate the rights of his unborn child, also wants the court to order an urgent investigation to be undertaken by a forensic scientist to ascertain if she is being brought to the UK against her will before permitting her to leave the country for an abortion.

He has also said that he has no desire to restrain her from travelling should that be her freely held wish.

The couple have known each other for a year, but her family have not accepted their relationship. However the man says his girlfriend's family are deeply unhappy with the fact she is in a relationship with someone of non European origin.

They had moved in together at a location away from her family (who also reside in Ireland). However at their home the man says they were harassed by members of her family. He claims that in recent days she was forced by her family to leave the house they had shared.

He also claims that a member of his girlfriend's family threatened to kill him if he attempted to come near his girlfriend.

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