Ugandan mother jailed in landmark FGM case
Publish date: 11 March 2019
Issue Number: 814
Diary: IBA Legalbrief Africa
A Ugandan national has been jailed for 11 years after becoming the first person in Britain to be convicted of female genital mutilation (FGM) in what a report in The Guardian describes as a landmark case. The 37-year-old woman was found guilty of cutting her three-year-old daughter. Two years were added to her sentence for possessing indecent images and extreme pornography. Campaigners welcomed the ruling, describing it as a ‘watershed moment’ that sent a strong message the crime would not be tolerated. Speaking at the Old Bailey in London, Justice Philippa Whipple said it was not known why the woman inflicted FGM on her child, contrary to her culture, although witchcraft was a possibility. Whipple described what the woman did as a form of child abuse. ‘It’s a barbaric practice and a serious crime. It’s an offence which targets women, particularly inflicted when they are young and vulnerable,’ she said. On the psychological effect on the victim, she told the defendant: ‘This is a significant and lifelong burden for her to carry. You betrayed her trust in you as her protector.’ Caroline Carberry QC, prosecuting, told the court the victim had recovered well but she was likely to experience reduced sexual sensation in the future and long-term psychological damage. The woman (37) and her Ghanaian partner (43) were both accused of cutting their daughter, but her partner was cleared of involvement following a separate trial. The report notes that research by City University estimates 137 000 women and girls are living with FGM in England and Wales.