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Latvian rapist wins case against 'unfair' decision to remove him from Ireland

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A Latvian man convicted of raping a woman a decade ago has won his High Court challenge against his removal and exclusion from the State.

The action was brought by Deniss Kovalenko, now aged 34,  who was convicted of the rape and oral rape of an American student in Galway on Valentines night 2004.

 Mr Justice Paul McDermott, ruled the exclusion order was "fundamentally flawed".

This was because Kovalenko was denied fair procedures including that he was unable to make submissions or given explanations on certain information used by officials in the Department of Justice while considering to exclude and remove him from the State.

Kovalenko, whose family live in Ireland, claimed the decision by the Minister for Justice was unfair and violated his and his family's rights under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

He also claimed he denied fair procedures and that as an EU citizen he is entitled to reside in Ireland.

In 2006, the Central Criminal Court heard Kovalenko met the woman in Shop Street in Galway city  at about 3am and bought her a rose from a street seller.

 He later raped her at Upper Canal Road, Galway.

Kovalenko, an unemployed stone mason, denied rape claiming his victim had consented to sex.

He was convicted by a jury, jailed for seven years and was placed on the sex offenders register. Following his release from prison, he returned to Galway where members of his family reside.

In his High Court action Kovalenko with an addresses at Krasta Jekabpils Latvia, and Newcastle Road, Galway, said he was served with an exclusion order on June 17, 2013, and removed from the State the following day.

He had previously been informed the Minister for Justice intended to remove him and exclude him for ten years.

His solicitors sought a review of this decision.

In his ruling, Mr Justice McDermott said the Minister "had an obligation" to disclose to Kovalenko it was intended to use material, when considering to remove him, which had been obtained from the Irish Prison Service concerning his conduct during his incarceration.

The failure to disclose the use of this material denied him an opportunity to make submissions on, or offer any explanation to these matters.  He was satisfied there was a breach of fair procedures.

The Judge also found a civil servant in the Department of Justice  involved in the original decision to have him removed was also involved in the appeal process.

A review process must be independent of  the first decision maker, the judge said.

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