- This is the strangest case I have encountered in almost 29 years as a judge. The applicant, Ms Fard, was born in Iran in 1947. In 1987, she fled to Turkey to avoid persecution of those of the Baha’i faith, of whom she is one. She was granted a visa to come to Australia. She arrived on 25 May 1988. She claims that the respondent, the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship (“the Minister”) holds documents that state falsely that Ms Fard is the mother of a man called Sohyle Lagheyefar or Sohail Laghaifar (or some variant of those spellings). She says that, in consequence of the existence of these false records, she has suffered various forms of harm and persecution in Australia. She wishes the Minister to cease to hold those records, or to correct them.
- There is in Australia a man who has been known by the name Sohyle Lagheyefar or Sohail Laghaifar (or some variant thereof). He denies that Ms Fard is his mother and denies that that is his name. He claims to be his Imperial Majesty Soltan Qeumars Shah Qajar, the grandson of a Shah who was deposed in 1925, and the true heir to the throne of Iran. For convenience, I refer to him as Mr Qeumars in these reasons for judgment, as I did at the trial.
- There are indeed many documents in the records held by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (“the Department”) in which it is stated that Ms Fard is the mother of a son whose name is spelt in one or other of the ways referred to in  above, or some variant of either of those spellings. A number of those documents were tendered in evidence by pro bono counsel for Ms Fard, along with evidence intended to demonstrate the falsity of the documents to the extent that they represent that Ms Fard has a son who bears the name in question (and sometimes in other respects). The case put on behalf of Ms Fard appears to be that documents were falsified deliberately, in order that Mr Qeumars could be brought to Australia, given a false identity, and kept here.
Monday, May 20, 2013
Much ado, to no avail, about the records on "true heir to the throne of Iran."
There is an angle but nothing of significant Freedom of Information interest in this Federal Court decision. However it is hard to go by Justice Gray's first sentence without a peek. The decision runs to 100 paragraphs.To cut to the chase, Ms Fard failed in her application and had costs awarded against her.