Our FoI request was very simple:
What is the legal basis, if any, on which non-therapeutic MGM may be carried out in the UK?
If there is no legal basis, MGM must be a criminal offence – grievous bodily harm, at least – so why does the criminal justice system not prosecute those who carry out the crime?
We’ve just received the CPS’s response. The key text:
You also asked about the circumcision of infant boys. There is no legislation criminalising the practice, however where the police refer a surgical procedure resulting in injury or death to the CPS for consideration, it is for the prosecutor to carefully consider any evidence of failings by an individual carrying out the procedure, to determine whether or not they should be prosecuted. Specific offences would depend on the circumstances of a case and we would consider these on an individual basis.
As we anticipated, the CPS has evaded the key question. They have failed to admit there is no legal basis for MGM, by pointing to the lack of legislation criminalising it. Legal experts agree that existing legislation on causing bodily harm effectively makes MGM illegal, it’s just that the criminal justice system won’t bring prosecutions.
What if a family came to reside in the UK, and they adhered to a religion which required the removal of the tips of baby boy’s little fingers eight days after birth? Would the CPS prosecute anyone who carried out the procedure? You would hope so. Yet it would lead to far less physical and mental harm than commonly results from MGM. The double standard is outrageous.
Needless to say, we shall be seeking an internal review of the CPS’s inadequate response.