Court rules drugs suspect lawfully in detention

Wednesday 23 April 2014 17.02
The State disagreed that the Chinese national was trafficked into Ireland
The State disagreed that the Chinese national was trafficked into Ireland

A High Court judge has ruled that a Chinese man, who had challenged his imprisonment ahead of a trial on drugs charges, is currently in lawful detention.

The 36-year-old man has been in prison since he was arrested at a cannabis growhouse at Henrietta Place in Dublin in November 2012.

He claimed he had been abducted from his home in the Fu Jian province of China in 2011 because his father had failed to repay a debt.

He said he had been taken to Hong Kong and then trafficked with several others to Ireland.

The man has been in custody since his arrest because he had no travel documents or money to apply for bail.

The State had been accused of ignoring signs of human trafficking and wrongfully imprisoning the man.

His lawyers argued that his continued detention was re-victimising him in breach of his rights under the Constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights.

However, the State disagreed that the man was trafficked into the country on a number of grounds.

In a ruling this afternoon, Mr Justice Gerard Hogan said he was obliged to refuse the man's case against the State.

He said he had come to the conclusion that the accused had not been trafficked into Ireland, and was, therefore, in lawful detention.

The judge said photos from an iPhone in the possession of the Chinese national proved he had travelled extensively around the country and had been at liberty for several months.

Mr Justice Hogan said that he had found aspects of the accused's testimony to the court unpersuasive. 

He said that while he believed the man had been ruthlessly exploited by a criminal gang, there was no direct evidence to substantiate his claim that he had been trafficked.