SB (Vulnerable Adult: Credibility) Ghana [2019]

Summary of case:

The Appellant entered the UK in 2011 under a visit visa. He then applied for leave to remain by means of being a spouse of an EEA national in 2012 and this was refused by the Home Office in 2013. He appealed this decision and this was refused in March 2014.

In April 2015, he was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment for 2 counts of rape. The respondent had presented his character as a high-risk of sexually offending women.

A deportation order was served to him in January 2017 by the respondent. As a means of counter acting the deportation, the appellant claimed asylum as a victim on modern slavery. The respondent refused his asylum claim in April 2019 and the appellant appealed this decision.

The appellant’s counsel were concerned about the appellant’s mental capacity to give instructions and made reference to Re P [2008] EWCA Civ 462 to have the issue clarified. They also provided medical evidence of self-harm, severe depression and mental health further deteriorating whilst in detention. Further to this, his representation also expressed the need for the Tribunal to make their own assessments regarding the Appellant’s drug trafficking claim if returned to Ghana.

First Tier Tribunal Decision: Adjournment refused as the appellant’s detailed medical records provided enough evidence to the Tribunal, any further reports would not be necessary. Also, there was no mention of the Appellant’s mental ill health or incapacity to give instructions in the April 2019 appeal, referring to Rule 2 of the Civil Procedure Rules 2014; a delay is not in the interests of the public or the appellant who had been in immigration detention since November 2018.

The Judge treated the appellant as a vulnerable witness in accordance with the Joint Presidential Guidance Note No 2 of 2010 due to the medical evidence provided of his severe depression, providing him with a liberal approach in assessing the case.

Upper Tribunal Decision: Upholding First Tier Tribunal Decision.

By applying the Joint Presidential Guidance Note No 2 of 2010, two aims are achieved:

  1. The judicial fact-finder will ensure the best practicable conditions for the appellant to give evidence.
  2. The vulnerability will also be taken into account when assessing the credibility of that evidence.