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Lawyer faces charges of enforcing female genital mutilation on his daughter

Lawyer faces charges of enforcing female genital mutilation on his daughter

A lawyer from London is facing charges of forcing his eldest daughter to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) as punishment on two occasions. 

The lawyer, who is orginally from West Africa and cannot be named for legal reasons, denied the two charges against him.

He is accused of allowing his daughter to be mutilated at the age of nine. The jury heard that someone reportedly came to their London home and cut her with a razor blade as she lay in the hallway.

The victim, now 16, said that she was cut again shortly after her wounds had healed. According to prosecutor Mark Heywood, the victim could not remember who had cut her, but said that her father was "egging them on". 

"This was not apparently (done) out of any cultural or family reason, but more - at least as she understood it - in the way of a punishment," Heywood told the Central Criminal Court.

"She was not given medicine or pain killers. She begged for them to stop. It bled a lot," he told the court. 

A gynaecologist who examined the girl last year, testified that she had scarring consistent with her account. 

The court also heard the defendant described as "harsh and cruel" who hit his children with a cane. His marriage had also collapsed. 

The two charges arise from two incidents that occurred in 2010 and 2013. He also faces two additional charges of wounding with intent and three counts of child cruelty between 2009 and 2016.

His defense counsel, Kate Bex, denied the allegations, saying her client was a devout Roman Catholic who considered himself a "loving, caring father". He called his daughter's account fabrications arising from a "very acrimonious divorce". 

In addition to denying the claims, Bex said that the defense would argue that FGM was predominantly perpetrated by female cutters and was done out of a superstitious belief that it would preserve a girl's chastity or ensure social acceptance. She said it was not performed as a punishment.

Britain outlawed FGM in 1985, but there has never been a successful prosecution.

The case continues. 

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