Federal Court


Board’s credibility analysis as a whole was unreasonable

Claimant was citizen of Georgia who claimed protection based on physical and verbal abuse by husband. Board did not believe claimant’s allegation that claimant’s husband had tied her to chair and burnt her back with iron. Board assigned claimant’s medical reports indicating burn scars on her back low probative value on basis that board did not believe facts on which reports were based. Claimant had confronted husband about affair he was having and board concluded from this that if she had courage to confront husband and that husband was under influence of drink when abuse allegedly took place, it was implausible that claimant could have been physically abused by husband. Board concluded claimant lacked credibility and denied claim. Claimant applied for judicial review. Application granted. Board’s primary negative credibility finding was that it was implausible that claimant could not or would not have overpowered her husband after he was drinking and began to physically abuse her. This finding reflected disregard and misunderstanding of nature of domestic abuse. To suggest that domestic abuse is perpetrated against victims whose personal qualities allow it to occur ignores fact that abuse is not consensual and takes place in range of social and interpersonal circumstances. Conclusion was not justifiable or intelligible. There was no evidentiary basis to conclude that claimant could have physically repelled attacks of her husband, given typical size and strength disparity between man and woman. Likewise, given persistent abuse claimant had suffered, there was no basis to assume that she would have psychological strength to defend herself, even if it were physically possible. Board’s credibility analysis as whole was unreasonable.

Danelia v. Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) (Jul. 16, 2014, F.C., Michael D. Manson J., File No. IMM-3324-13) 242 A.C.W.S. (3d) 893.

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