Monday 19 March 2018

'Rape victim' refugee who was refused an abortion sues State

The High Court adjourned the case.
The High Court adjourned the case.
Photo: Getty Images/Ingram Publishing

Tim Healy

An asylum seeker who was refused an abortion after arriving in Ireland pregnant as a result of an alleged rape is suing the State for damages.

The action, by a woman known as 'Ms Y', includes a claim for alleged trespass, assault and battery.

She is also claiming reckless and intentional infliction of emotional harm, breach of duty, false imprisonment and alleged unlawful deprivation of liberty.

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

The case was before the High Court yesterday when Mr Justice Kevin Cross made an order 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 pseudonym "Ms Y from Dublin".

The application for anonymity was not opposed by the State.

Mr Justice Cross, in granting the anonymity order, said Ms Y came to this country in 2014. 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 medical procedures were performed under the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Act 2013 and a baby was delivered by caesarean section, the judge said.

Mr Justice Cross said he fully accepted that if the woman were identified, this would cause undue stress to her, but he was not happy that there was evidence to support the contention she would necessarily qualify for anonymity under the Civil Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act.


However, he did not have to adjudicate on the proper interpretation of that Act because the woman was a person who has sought asylum from the State and been granted it.

There was, the judge said, under the Refugee Act an obligation on the State to take all practical steps to ensure the identity of the woman was kept confidential.

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 in accordance with that Act.

Irish Independent

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