OTTAWA, ONTARIO, SEPTEMBER 12, 2000
BEFORE: PELLETIER J.
- and -
THE MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
REASONS FOR ORDER AND ORDER
 Valentin Stoica is a national of Roumania who alleged that he was a victim of persecution for his alleged political opinions and his membership in a particular social group, namely persons suffering from mental illness. The Refugee Division ("Refugee Division") of the Immigration and Refugee Board dismissed his refugee status claim and further concluded that there was no credible basis for his claim.
 The essential facts were summarized by the Refugee Division in two paragraphs:
Mr. Stoica was born in Roumania on September 24, 1961. The events alleged by the claimant took place between 1978 and his departure from Roumania in March 1997. He said he was harassed, threatened and attacked by members of the Securitate and the RIS, that is the Roumanian information service, to make him agree to be an informer for that organization at his workplace. When he refused to comply, he said he was beaten several times by RIS people who forced him to sign libellous accusations. The claimant also said he was threatened by the police with imprisonment for three years, after being charged with libel.
As he could no longer bear this situation, he left Roumania in March 1997 to go to Italy, where he stayed until the end of April 1998. He arrived in Canada on May 15, 1998 and claimed refugee status the same day.
 The plaintiff alleged that he was persecuted for his alleged political opinions and his membership in a particular social group, namely persons suffering from mental illness. The Refugee Division concluded that there was no persecution because of two facts. The plaintiff claimed that the security services caused him problems, which the Refugee Division considered improbable as the plaintiff remained in the same job for 18 years. Further, none of his work colleagues appeared to have been troubled by false accusations which the plaintiff alleged he signed in order to avoid being beaten. Weighing the evidence is fundamental to the jurisdiction of the Refugee Division, and in assessing the plaintiff's credibility the Refugee Division can rely on improbabilities and contradictions.
Aguebor v. Canada (MEI) (1994), 160 N.R. 315 (F.C.A.)
 The Court will not overturn the Refugee Division's assessment of credibility unless there is an obvious error by the Division. The fact that a contrary conclusion would be no more reasonable than the one at which the Refugee Division arrived does not assist the plaintiff. The fact that the Court doubts the Division's decision on one point or another does not authorize it to substitute its opinion for that of the Division.
 In dealing with the plaintiff's subjective fear, the Refugee Division appeared to be saying two contradictory things. The following are the three relevant paragraphs:
Finally, although his state of health might lead him to have a subjective fear of persecution in his country, the tribunal considers that this fear has no objective basis.
Further, he remained in Italy for over a year without claiming refugee status in that country, alleging that he consulted a lawyer who told him that Italy was no longer granting political asylum and he had to go to Canada.
The tribunal dismissed these explanations and we feel that his actions are not consistent with those of a person who says he fears the authorities in his country and is seeking international protection.
 At the outset the Refugee Division appeared to be admitting that the plaintiff had a subjective fear of persecution in his country, though it had no objective basis. The Refugee Division then mentioned the plaintiff's stay in Italy and dismissed his explanation because he did not claim refugee status in Italy. On this basis, it concluded that the plaintiff had no subjective fear of persecution in his country. The Division appeared to be saying two mutually opposed things. First, it admitted that the plaintiff had a subjective fear of persecution in his country, but that fear was the result of his illness and there was no objective basis for it. Second, the Refugee Division seemed to say that the plaintiff had no subjective fear because he did not claim refugee status in Italy when he spent a year there. The latter conclusion is based on the assumption that a person with a genuine fear of persecution would do everything he could to find a place of safety, and in particular claim refugee status as soon as an opportunity arose. Apart from the effect of the illness on the plaintiff's reason, this is not an unreasonable assumption; but the reader might wonder whether the Refugee Division accepted that the plaintiff had a subjective fear of persecution in his country.
 This is important in view of the Refugee Division's finding, namely that there was no credible basis for the plaintiff's claim. If the plaintiff had a subjective fear of persecution without any objective basis, that would still be evidence on which the Refugee Division could rely in granting him refugee status. It would not be sufficient, but there would then be credible or trustworthy evidence in support of his claim. If the plaintiff had no subjective or objective basis for such a fear, then the finding that there was no credible basis might be justified.
 In view of the Refugee Division's finding, it appears that the Division rejected the possibility of a subjective fear resulting from the plaintiff's illness. The assumption that an individual with a genuine fear of persecution would take the first opportunity to claim refugee status does not depend on the validity or source of the fear. As the plaintiff did not take the opportunity provided by his stay in Italy, it necessarily follows that he did not have a subjective fear of persecution. Consequently, the dismissal of the claim by the Refugee Division and the conclusion that there was no credible basis were not unreasonable.
The application for judicial review is dismissed.
J.D. Denis Pelletier
Certified true translation
Suzanne M. Gauthier, LL.L. Trad. a.
FEDERAL COURT OF CANADA
NAMES OF COUNSEL AND SOLICITORS OF RECORD
COURT No.: IMM-1388-99
STYLE OF CAUSE: VALENTIN STOICA v. THE MINISTER OF CITIZENSHIP AND IMMIGRATION
PLACE OF HEARING: Montréal, Quebec
DATE OF HEARING: February 29, 2000
REASONS FOR ORDER BY: PELLETIER J.
DATED: September 12, 2000
Serban Tismanariu FOR THE APPLICANT
Patricia Deslauriers FOR THE RESPONDENT
SOLICITORS OF RECORD:
Montréal, Quebec FOR THE APPLICANT
Morris Rosenberg FOR THE RESPONDENT
Deputy Attorney General of Canada