Thursday 26 April 2018

Couple to face trial accused of genital mutilation of their daughter at their south Dublin home

Stock Picture
Stock Picture

Tom Tuite

A couple have been sent forward for trial accused of genital mutilation of their daughter at their home in Dublin.

The man, 35, and the woman, 26, faced their second hearing when they appeared before Judge Paula Murphy at Dublin District Court.

They had been charged in December and were then remanded on bail to appear again today when they were served with books of evidence in court by Det Sergeant Danny Kelly.

The couple, who are from an east African country, are accused of genital mutilation of the girl at their home in a south Dublin suburb on Sept. 16, 2016 and another charge under the Children’s Act for allowing a child to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected causing unnecessary suffering or injury.

The offence of genital mutilation, on conviction, can carry a sentence of up to 14 years. The man and woman, who did not address the court today, cannot be named for legal reasons.

Judge Paula Murphy noted from state solicitor Jonathan Antoniotti that there were reporting restrictions to protect the child’s identity and she said they remained in place for the duration of the proceedings.

The age of the child has not yet been stated in the case. The Director of Public Prosecutions consented to the couple being returned for trial on indictment.

After the books of evidence were served, the judge made an order sending them forward for trial to the Dublin Circuit Criminal Court where they will face their next hearing on Feb. 23, 2018.

They have not yet formally indicated how they will plead. There was no objection to bail subject them having to abide by a number of conditions.

Judge Murphy also told them that they must notify the prosecution if they intended to use an alibi in their defence. Legal aid was granted.

The court heard today that there has been compliance with the bail terms imposed in December and which remain in place.

At their first hearing on Dec. 21 last, they they swore on the Koran they would abide by the bail conditions and that that they would not to apply for travel documents after they were ordered to surrender their passports.

At that hearing, Det Sergeant Kelly had told the court he arrested them that morning and they were taken to a south Dublin Garda station to be charged. He had said the man’s reply after caution was: “I don’t want to say anything until my solicitor is here”.

The district court had heard the woman was charged minutes later and her response to the first charge was: “I have told you before when we had an interview here that no one performed mutilation and I did not agree to anyone performing mutilation of the child, she was not mutilated in any form”.

She had no comment when the second charge was put to her.

At the first hearing Det Sergeant Kelly had also asked the court to order the pair to surrender their passports. He had said the man, who was unemployed and an asylum seeker, did not have an Irish passport and he had feared that both would leave the country.

He had told the defence barrister that subject to the bail condition being imposed he was satisfied they would show up for their trial. The court also heard that the man’s passport was already in the possession of immigration authorities.

They were ordered to surrender passports and not apply for any other travel documents, reside at their address, provide the garda with a mobile phone number on which they could be contacted at all times, sign on twice a week and notify gardai of a change of address.

They were also told their mobile phones must be kept operational at all times.

The man in evidence had told the court he was giving an undertaking “not to apply for any travel documents or a new passport”. His partner had also given the same undertaking.

The bail was set in their own bonds of €300.

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