Whittington doctor ‘performed female genital mutilation’ on young mum, court hears

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A doctor stitched up a woman’s genitals in a “dangerous” and archaic practice at the Whittington, a court heard.

In the first trial of it’s kind in the UK, Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, is accused of carrying out an illegal Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) procedure at the hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway.

A second man, 41, denies encouraging and abetting the offence.

The woman, 24 at the time, first underwent FGM aged six in Somalia, a jury at London’s Southwark Crown Court was told.

The highly dangerous procedure left her at risk of infection, haemorrhage and even death.

The mother of two, who cannot be named and was only referred to as AB in court, went to the Whittington in November 2012 in labour with her first child. During the birth, her FGM stitches were torn. Dharmasena, the junior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology, sewed her back up in a procedure that amounted to FGM, the court heard.

Kate Bex, prosecuting, told jurors: “Female genital mutilation is often abbreviated to FGM, it is also known as female circumcision. It may be that it is not a law that you have heard much about, or that you are unsure exactly what FGM means.

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“You may be expecting to hear that the offence took place in a back-street clinic, by an unqualified and uncaring person, on a young child.

“This trial is quite different, but nonetheless involves FGM.”

She said that after the birth and the other defendants “insistence, or with his encouragement” Dharmasena “stitched” her back up.

She added: “What Dr Dharmasena did, by stitching back together the labia, was against the policy of his employer, the Whittington Hospital.

Dharmasena, of Ilford, Essex, denies carrying out FGM. The second defendant denies one count of abetting Dharmasena and one count of encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence. He denies both counts. Carrying out female genital mutilation carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. The trial continues.