(Immigration and Asylum Chamber) Appeal Number: HU/21911/2016
THE IMMIGRATION ACTS
Heard at Manchester
Decision & Reasons Promulgated
On April 30, 2018
On May 03, 2018
DEPUTY UPPER TRIBUNAL JUDGE ALIS
MR ALI RASHID
(NO ANONYMITY DIRECTION made)
the Secretary of State for the Home Department
For the Appellant: Mr McCready, Counsel, instructed by KM Solicitors
For the Respondent: Mr McVeety, Senior Home Office Presenting Officer
DECISION AND REASONS
1. I do not make an anonymity direction.
2. The appellant entered the United Kingdom on March 22, 2011 as a Tier 4 student with leave to remain until October 20 of 2014. He then applied for further leave to remain in the same capacity but the respondent refused his application on December 1, 2014.
3. On January 9, 2015 the appellant submitted a further application for leave to remain albeit on this occasion it was on private life grounds. The respondent refused this application on May 5, 2015.
4. On April 26, 2015 the appellant married his wife and on October 2, 2015 he lodged further submissions for leave to remain on human rights grounds but again the respondent refused his application.
5. The appellant then lodged his current application on family and private life grounds on December 15, 2015 which was refused by the respondent on September 5, 2016.
6. The appellant appealed that decision and the appeal came before Judge of the First-tier Tribunal McCall on May 23, 2017 and in a decision promulgated on June 7, 2017 the Judge dismissed his appeal on all grounds.
7. The appellant lodged grounds of appeal on June 20, 2017 and on December 19, 2017 Judge of the First-tier Tribunal Bird found it arguable there had been an error in law because (a) the Judge had arguably failed to explain what inconsistencies he had found in the evidence or put these inconsistencies to the witnesses and (b) the Judge failed to explain why the appellant's explanation as to how he had obtained the FIR was not adequate.
8. The respondent filed a Rule 24 response dated January 10, 2018 in which he pointed to the fact that the Judge had identified numerous inconsistencies in the evidence and had given clear reasons for the adverse finding on the FIR. The respondent argued that the grounds had no merit and merely disagreed with the adverse outcome of the appeal.
9. Mr McCready adopted his skeleton argument that he submitted on the morning of the hearing.
10. He argued that at the appellant's appeal hearing the Judge had to deal with the fact that the appellant and his wife both claimed that they had been threatened by the sponsor's family because their families had opposed the appellant's marriage to his wife because she was British. At paragraph 23 the Judge had found the appellant and sponsor had given inconsistent evidence regarding threats received from the sponsor's family stating that the appellant claimed to have been threatened by her brothers whereas the sponsor stated that she had been threatened by her brother, sister and mother.
11. Mr McCready submitted that the Judge had erroneously reached a conclusion that this was an inconsistency whereas in fact each witness had been speaking about who had threatened them personally. Mr McCready further submitted that if this issue was important the inconsistency should have been put to the witnesses. Whilst he accepted other inconsistencies were found, Mr McCready submitted that in assessing credibility the Judge had to have regard to all inconsistencies when considering credibility in the round.
12. Mr McCready further submitted that the Judge had erred in his approach to the FIR. The Judge stated at paragraph 33 of his decision that he was not satisfied the document was authentic but failed to explain why he rejected the appellant's account of how he came into possession of it and wrongly sought corroborative evidence of something which the appellant could not obtain. There was no evidence the appellant had been asked anything about the document or what had happened after it had been issued but the Judge had gone on to make adverse credibility findings on that point.
13. Mr McVeety relied on the Rule 24 letter and submitted that the Judge had identified numerous inconsistencies in paragraphs 21 and 22 of his decision. Those inconsistencies severely undermined the credibility of the case and even if the Judge had wrongly approached the evidence about who threatened whom it was not material as there were numerous other inconsistencies that undermined the claim.
14. With regard to the FIR, Mr McVeety submitted that the fact the appellant could not explain how the document had been obtained and what had happened after the document had been issued meant the Judge was entitled to make the adverse finding he did. He submitted that the Judge had not speculated about the FIR as was been suggested by Mr McCready.
ERROR OF LAW ASSESSMENT
15. The appellant had applied to remain on the basis of his family and private life with his wife. Despite being advised to formally claim asylum the appellant did not pursue this but instead pursued this aspect of his claim at the oral hearing.
16. Both representatives drew my attention to paragraph 22 of the Judge's decision. He had already noted at paragraph 20 that both the appellant and his wife appeared reluctant to answer questions regarding who had threatened them and noted at times they were vague.
17. I considered the record of proceedings and am satisfied that the Judge's record of proceedings mirrors the content of paragraph 22 of his decision. The Judge noted the following inconsistencies:
(a) The sponsor claimed she had had regular telephone contact with her family until May 2017 even though she had stated in her oral evidence that her family first threatened her when they married in 2015. The Judge found this answer inconsistent with her claim to speak to her family on the telephone regularly.
(b) Initially in cross-examination the sponsor claimed that it was her brother and sister who made the threats to her but she then said that her mother was also involved despite the fact that she regularly spoke to her on the telephone.
(c) The appellant had stated that it was his wife's two brothers who had threatened him and that these threats had been made by telephone shortly after they had married. He reiterated during his evidence that it was his wife's brothers, who were aged over 30 years of age that had made the threats. He made no reference to the sponsor's sister or mother making such threats.
(d) The sponsor claimed that her relationship with the appellant's brother in the United Kingdom had deteriorated after their wedding in 2015 whereas the appellant stated that he maintained a close relationship with this brother and his brother had not only provided him with a place to live but had also supported him financially since his studies came to an end in 2014.
(e) The sponsor claimed that she financially supported the appellant and disputed his brother provided any financial support.
18. I accept Mr McCready's submission that when asked about who had made a threat it is a "jump" to say the appellant and sponsor gave inconsistent answers as they were only being asked who had made threats to them personally as against who has threatened the other person.
19. I have to assess the evidence in the round and as demonstrated above there were other matters which raised sufficient doubt to the extent that regardless of this issue it was clearly open to the Judge to reject the appellant's claim about a threat. This was not a scenario where the Judge only rejected the claim on the basis that they had given different answers about who threatened them. Whilst that did form part of his decision there were numerous other inconsistencies that led the Judge to conclude they were not being honest. The first ground does not amount to a material error in such circumstances.
20. The second ground concerned the FIR which had been produced. This document was a report by the appellant's brother, in Pakistan, that the sponsor's brothers had attacked this brother over the appellant's marriage.
21. The appellant was questioned how this document was obtained in circumstances where he was not speaking to his family and he stated that the police must have given it to his friend. At paragraph 33 the Judge went on to say that he did not find it credible the appellant would have known about this report if he had been in fear of his own family.
22. Mr McCready submitted this point was not put to the appellant but bearing in mind he had no contact with his family in Pakistan it seems a finding open to the Judge bearing in mind the relationship he had with his family.
23. Having discovered there was an FIR the Judge made a further adverse finding that no steps were taken by the appellant to see what had happened.
24. Mr McCready submitted this evidence was not available to the appellant but no effort had been made by the appellant to find out what had gone on after that date. Mr McCready submitted that the Judge had speculated but the Judge's finding on this point was open to the Judge.
25. In any event, the Judge went on to consider their claim on the basis it was credible and concluded there was no evidence to suggest that they could not return to another part of Pakistan. Bearing in mind the size of Pakistan and in the absence of any evidence that either the appellant or the sponsor's family had any influence, the Judge's conclusion in paragraph 34 they could relocate was one that was open to him.
26. In the circumstances I do not find any error of law.
27. The making of the decision of the First-tier Tribunal did not involve the making of an error on a point of law. I uphold the original decision.
Signed Date 30/04/2018
Deputy Upper Tribunal Judge Alis
TO THE RESPONDENT
I do not make a fee award in this because the appeal was dismissed.
Signed Date 30/04/2018
Deputy Upper Tribunal Judge Alis