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Parents convicted of allowing FGM to be carried out on daughter to be sentenced today

The couple were found guilty following a trial last November.
Jan 27th 2020, 6:00 AM 14,067 0

THE PARENTS OF a young girl who is deemed to have undergone female genital mutilation (FGM) are due to be sentenced later today.

On 28 November, a jury at the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court unanimously found the married couple guilty of FGM and of a separate charge of neglect related to the same incident on 16 September 2016.

Sentencing was adjourned until today at a hearing on 20 December so Judge Elma Sheahan could consider evidence related the case

The couple, who can’t be named for legal reasons, are the first people to be convicted of carrying out FGM in Ireland.

The practice, which refers to the ritual cutting or removal of some or all of the external female genitalia for non-medical reasons, has been outlawed here since 2012.

Pleaded not guilty 

The man, aged in his 30s, and the woman, aged in her 20s, had pleaded not guilty to the charges. They are both originally from East Africa but have lived in Ireland for several years.

The woman is an Irish citizen but the man is the subject of a deportation order which is under appeal, the court was previously told.

The couple had claimed their daughter, who was just under two years old at the time, sustained her injuries after falling onto a toy while not wearing a nappy at the family’s Dublin home.

This version of events was disputed by three medical experts over the course of the trial.

The State did not argue that the couple carried out FGM on their daughter themselves, rather that “aided and abetted, counselled or procured FGM” to take place.

Judge Sheahan last November ruled that both of the accused be remanded in custody. The State had objected to bail being granted.

The couple has three young children and Tusla, the Child and Family Agency, has been involved in the case since 2016.

‘Story didn’t match’

The couple took their daughter to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin (OLCHC) on 16 September 2016 and asked for immediate assistance because she was bleeding.

The young girl had to undergo surgery to stop the bleeding, the court heard during the trial.

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Professor Thambipillai Sri Paran, the paediatric surgeon who carried out the procedure, last month told the court he believed the injury the girl sustained was non-accidental. Part of the girl’s clitoris was missing, consistent with FGM Type 1, the court heard.

The toy the girl was alleged to have fallen on is an activity centre with a steering wheel and other protruding objects but no sharp edges, the court was told.

“The story didn’t match the injury that I saw,” Paran said in November, adding: “When the story and the injury doesn’t tally, we know we are legally obliged to raise the alarm.”

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Órla Ryan

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