Wrongful rejection of corroborative evidence because the initial evidence is rejected due to ‘credibility’

This bootstrap reasoning is common in decisions which read as if the decision-maker knows he or she has no intellectually-defensible way of rejecting inconvenient corroborative evidence, and so resorts to dismissing it because of some kind of domino effect arising from the rejection of the original evidence of the applicant. In BZD17 v Minister for Immigration and Border Protection [2018] FCAFC 94; 263 FCR 292 at [45] the Full Court explained that this kind of reasoning may be illogical:

… it is true that the High Court held in S20/2002 that it is not irrational (albeit not necessarily preferable) for the finder of fact to focus “first upon the case as it was put by the appellant”, before considering the alleged corroboration.  However, this does not mean that the finder of fact can ignore the allegedly corroborative material and fail to consider it in an intellectually active way (WAIJ v Minister for Immigration & Multicultural & Indigenous Affairs [2004] FCAFC 74 at [27] (Lee and Moore JJ); semble SZDGC at [23] (Finkelstein J)). For example, as in DAO16, a finding that a visa applicant’s evidence is not credible may not of itself provide a logical or rational basis on which to dismiss all of the corroborative evidence and, once the corroborative evidence is considered, it may at least raise a doubt about whether the whole of an applicant’s claims should in fact be rejected, thereby enlivening the obligation to consider the alternative scenario that the applicant’s claims might be correct. 

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