Wednesday 17 October 2018

Parents to face trial for genital mutilation of daughter

The defendant admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to stealing a Hugo Boss aftershave set worth €47 from Boots in Blanchardstown. Stock picture: Getty
The defendant admitted before Blanchardstown District Court to stealing a Hugo Boss aftershave set worth €47 from Boots in Blanchardstown. Stock picture: Getty

Tim Healy

A couple are to face trial, accused of the genital mutilation of their daughter at their home in Dublin.

The man (35) and the woman (25) appeared before Judge Conal Gibbons at Dublin District Court yesterday, following their arrest in the morning.

The couple, who are from an east African country, listened to the proceedings via an interpreter and swore on the Koran that they would not apply for travel documents after being ordered to surrender their passports.

They are accused of the genital mutilation of the girl at their home in a south Dublin suburb on September 16, 2016.

They are also accused of another charge under the Children's Act of allowing a child to be assaulted, ill treated and neglected, causing unnecessary suffering or injury.

Det Sergeant Danny Kelly told Judge Gibbons he arrested the couple at just after 10am and they were taken to a south Dublin Garda station to be charged. He said the man's reply after caution was: "I don't want to say anything until my solicitor is here."

Interview

The court heard that the woman was charged minutes later and that 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."

The woman had no comment when the second charge of allowing a child to be assaulted was put to her.

The age of the child was not stated during the hearing.

Det Sergeant Kelly asked for an adjournment until February 1 for a book of evidence to be completed. He asked the judge to order the couple to surrender their passports.

He told Judge Gibbons that the man, who is unemployed and an asylum seeker, did not have an Irish passport and he feared that both would leave the country.

Det Sgt Kelly told defence barrister Tom Power that, subject to the bail condition being imposed, he was satisfied that they would show up in court.

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 to apply for any other travel documents, to reside at their address, and to provide the gardaí with a mobile phone number on which they could be contacted at all times.

They must also sign on twice a week and notify gardaí of a change of address.

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

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

Judge Gibbons said the conditions were warranted and appropriate as he remanded them each on bail in own bonds of €300.

He also cautioned the media that there were reporting restrictions in order to protect the identity of the child.

Practice rooted in cultures all over the world

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the illegal practice of the partial or total removal of a part of a girl's genitals.

The ritual is deeply rooted in some cultures. While it takes place in many parts of the world, it is most common in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. In western countries, it is often practised by the diaspora populations from those countries where it is prevalent.

The reasons for it are varied, but are often linked to religion, controlling female sexuality and social obligation.

It is often performed by a family member and usually done between infancy and age 15.

It has been estimated that 6,000 girls worldwide are subjected to FGM every day. More than half of them are from Indonesia, Ethiopia and Egypt.

Irish Independent

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