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Surgeon acquitted of carrying out female genital mutilation in a prosecution criticised by obstetricians

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h703 (Published 05 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h703
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1The BMJ

An NHS trainee obstetrician who faced the first prosecution in the United Kingdom for female genital mutilation has been acquitted after the jury deliberated for less than half an hour.

Dhanuson Dharmasena, then a junior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology at the Whittington Hospital in north London, was accused of reinfibulating a Somali woman by sewing her labia together after the birth of her first child in 2012. But he told the jury that he had put only a small suture at the top of a cut he had made to deliver the baby, to stop bleeding, in an emergency situation.

The verdict of not guilty came after Mr Justice Sweeney, who presided over the 13 day trial at Southwark Crown Court, told the jury in his summing up that they would have to consider whether the doctor had been made a “scapegoat” …

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