Tuesday 18 June 2019

Man (54) charged with endangerment of life after 'crude circumcision' on baby

Refused bail: Philip Ogbewe, from Drogheda, Co Louth, has been charged with assault causing harm
Refused bail: Philip Ogbewe, from Drogheda, Co Louth, has been charged with assault causing harm

Tom Tuite

A 54-year-old man has been charged with endangerment of life and impersonating a doctor in connection with a crude circumcision carried out on a 10-month old baby boy.

The infant needed emergency medical attention and was hospitalised for two weeks.

Father-of-six Philip Ogbewe (54), from Nigeria but living in Ireland 20 years and residing at Green Lanes, Drogheda, Co Louth allegedly used a surgical blade on the infant during a circumcision just over three years ago.

The baby boy needed a blood transfusion and required surgery at Mullingar Midland Regional Hospital, and later at Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Crumlin.

He had initially been charged in November with assault causing harm to the baby boy in a midlands town on a date in December 2015.

He was refused bail on November 16 last.

Mr Ogbewe appeared again at Cloverhill District Court today when the assault charge was withdrawn and replaced with two other allegations, following directions from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

The new charges are for reckless endangerment of life by performing a home circumcision on the baby which led to serious haemorrhaging which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm.

That alleged offence is under Section 13 of the Non Fatal Offences Against the Person Act

The second charge was under the Section 41.b of the Medical Practitioners Act for falsely representing himself as a medical practitioner. The offences, on conviction, can result in sentences of up to five or seven years.

Garda Sergeant Paul Carney told Judge Victor Blake the accused made no reply when charged today.

The DPP has directed Philip Ogbewe was face trial on indictment, meaning the case would go before a circuit court judge and jury.

He could also be sent forward to the circuit court on signed pleas should that arise, Garda Sergeant Carney told Judge Blake.

The sergeant objected to bail citing the seriousness of the case.

Defence counsel Niall Flynn (instructed by Brid Mimnagh solicitor) pleaded for bail.

He said his client, who has already surrendered his passport, was of limited means but would lodge €1,000, which was a substantial amount for him. Mr Flynn said his client was prepared to sign on four times daily at his local Garda station, would obey a curfew, have a mobile phone on which he would only be contacted by gardai and he would refrain from using all social media.

Mr Flynn submitted that his client would not leave the Drogheda area except for court appearances and appointments with his legal team.

However, Judge Blake refused bail.

The accused, who has not yet indicated how he will plead, was remanded in custody pending the preparation of a book of evidence to appear again on January 18 next. Legal aid was granted.

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