Europe

FGM: Dublin couple jailed over genital mutilation of daughter

A surgical scalpel

A married couple have been sentenced at Dublin Circuit Criminal Court over the female genital mutilation (FGM) of their then 21-month-old daughter.

A 37-year-old man and his 27-year-old wife were jailed for five-and-a-half years and four years and nine months respectively.

In November the couple pleaded not guilty to procuring an act of FGM on 16 September 2016, RTÉ reported.

Their conviction was the the first of its kind in the Republic of Ireland.

The couple cannot be named to protect the identity of the child, who is now five.

FGM was criminalised in Ireland in 2012 and carries a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment.

The procedure sees the female genitals deliberately cut, injured or changed when there is no medical reason for this to be done.

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Media captionWhat are the four types of FGM?

It is usually carried out on young girls between infancy and the age of 15, most commonly before puberty starts.

The couple, of African origin, were also found guilty on one count of child cruelty on the same date.

The trial heard they did not carry out the FGM themselves but had "aided and abetted, counselled or procured" it.

They subsequently attended hospital with their daughter, claiming the child sustained her injuries by falling backwards onto a toy.

Several medical experts disputed this account.

'Serious harm'

Paediatric surgeon Sri Paran told the court the child would have gone into shock within 20 hours had her bleeding not been stopped.

He concluded her injury could not have been accidental when he performed a procedure to stop her bleeding and referred the case to the Garda (Irish police) for investigation.

Sentencing the couple, Judge Elma Sheahan said the offence had resulted in serious harm to the child, who may suffer psychological or psycho-sexual effects in the future.

She said the couple had shown a lack of remorse and had not provided any insight into what had occurred.

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