First prosecutions for female genital mutilation
The Director of Public Prosecutions has today announced the first ever prosecutions under the Female Genital Mutilation Act.
Alison Saunders, Director of Public Prosecutions, said: "The CPS was asked to consider evidence in relation to this allegation of female genital mutilation (FGM) by the Metropolitan Police Service. It was alleged that following a patient giving birth in November 2012, a doctor at the Whittington Hospital, in London, repaired FGM that had previously been performed on the patient, allegedly carrying out FGM himself.
"Having carefully considered all the available evidence, I have determined there is sufficient evidence and it would be in the public interest to prosecute Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena for an offence contrary to S1 (1) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003).
"I have also determined that Hasan Mohamed should face one charge of intentionally encouraging an offence of FGM, contrary to section 44(1) of the Serious Crime Act (2007), and a second charge of aiding, abetting, counselling or procuring Dr Dharmasena to commit an offence contrary to S1 (1) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003).
"These decisions were taken in accordance with the Code for Crown Prosecutors.
"Dr Dharmasena and Hasan Mohamed will appear at Westminster Magistrates' Court on 15 April.
"May I remind all those concerned that these individuals have a right to a fair trial and it is very important that there should be no reporting, commentary or sharing of information online which could in any way prejudice these proceedings."
This was the first time this case was considered by the CPS. We have also reached a decision in one other new case and in relation to three of the four cases being re-reviewed by the CPS, following previous decisions to take no further action.
After careful consideration of all the available evidence and other potential further lines of inquiry, we have determined there is insufficient evidence to demonstrate a realistic prospect of conviction and that no further action should be taken in relation to these four cases.
1) New case
This new potential case of FGM was referred to CPS London by police in December 2013. It was alleged that whilst abroad two parents had arranged for their daughter to be subjected to a type of female genital mutilation involving a small pinprick.
The potential victim was medically examined and there was no physical evidence that any procedure had been performed, this is not unusual when the alleged FGM is of the type described.
Neither the suspects nor the potential victim were UK nationals or permanent UK residents at the time of the alleged offence and, as a result, the suspects could not be prosecuted under the FGM Act for an act committed abroad. There is no evidence to suggest any offence has been committed in the UK.
We have determined there is insufficient evidence to charge the suspects with any other offences and that no further action should be taken in this case.
This case was re-reviewed after it was first investigated in February 2012, following which the police decided no further action should be taken.
It was alleged that the suspect contacted an FGM helpline after misunderstanding its purpose and instead rang the advertised number to request the circumcision of his two daughters.
In order to prosecute an individual for commissioning an offence under the FGM Act, the prosecution must be able to demonstrate that they have committed an act that goes further than simply preparing to commit the offence.
As a result of this case being re-reviewed, further investigative enquiries were undertaken to establish whether any additional evidence might be available to demonstrate this to the criminal standard.
No additional evidence came to light and we have determined that no further action should be taken, as there remains insufficient evidence to demonstrate a realistic prospect of conviction.
We are unable to provide further detail on the other two re-reviewed cases at this time.
- Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has been a specific criminal offence in England and Wales since 1985 when the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act 1985 ("the 1985 Act") was passed.
- The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 ("the 2003 Act") repealed and replaced the 1985 Act in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It also made it an offence for UK nationals or permanent UK residents to carry out FGM abroad, or to aid, abet, counsel or procure the carrying out of FGM abroad, even in countries where the practice is legal. The maximum penalty was also increased from 5 years to 14 years imprisonment.
- Under section 1(1) of the Female Genital Mutilation Act (2003) a person is guilty of an offence if he excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any part of a girl's labia majora, labia minora or clitoris.
- As of 21 March, the CPS is considering four cases of alleged FGM, one of which is a re-review of a case that was previously been considered and a decision was made that no further action should be taken.
- We have also had preliminary discussions with police in relation to their investigations into two further cases, which are currently at an early stage.
- CPS submitted written evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on FGM in February. This written submission is available from the parliament.uk website.
Notes to Editors
- For media enquiries call the CPS Press Office on 020 3357 0906; Out of Hours Pager 07699 781 926
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- At 31 March 2013 we employed a workforce of approximately 6840 staff (full time equivalent), including around 2350 prosecutors and 4110 caseworkers and administrators. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk.
- The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media. This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests. Read the Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.