Published online 90 minutes ago by The Times, emphases ours:
The trial of a father accused of allowing his daughter to undergo genital mutilation collapsed today after the prosecution’s medical expert could not confirm that the procedure had been carried out.
The case against the 29-year-old Somali taxi driver, who has three young daughters, was thrown out on the fourth day at Bristol crown court. Judge Julian Lambert directed the jury to find the father not guilty of child cruelty and described the decision to prosecute him as “deeply troubling”.
The judge said that medical evidence on whether the girl, aged seven, had undergone FGM was “wholly inconclusive at its highest” and that she had always denied being harmed.
The collapse means that no case of FGM has been successfully prosecuted in the 30 years the practice has been illegal.
The judge also described the evidence of the key witness who reported the offence after a conversation in the defendant’s taxi as “inconsistent”. Sami Ullah, who is a trustee of the anti-FGM campaign group Integrate UK, told the jury the driver had condemned the practice as “ignorant” before saying that he had had it done to his own daughter.
The taxi driver and his wife consistently denied that any of their daughters had been subjected to FGM.
Photographs taken by a paediatrician in Bristol called in to examine the girl showed a 2-3mm lesion on her genitals. By the time she was examined by a specialist in London three weeks later the mark had disappeared.
After the hearing Detective Chief Inspector Leanne Pook, Avon and Somerset police’s spokeswoman on FGM cases, said: “Our priority from the outset of this investigation has been to safeguard any vulnerable children and protect them from harm.
“We carried out a challenging two-year investigation, supported by professionals from a range of partner agencies, which resulted in evidence being passed to the Crown Prosecution Service and a charge being authorised for a child cruelty offence.
“We accept the findings of the court and will continue, as always, to work closely with our communities to protect those at risk of FGM, and our wider network of partner agencies and inspiring charities to raise awareness of and develop our responses to this important issue.
“FGM remains a deeply entrenched practice and we know these harmful procedures are happening in this country right now.”
A spokeswoman for the Crown Prosecution Service described the prosecution as unprecedented. She added: “The CPS considered this case in accordance with the code for crown prosecutors and decided that there was sufficient evidence [J4MB: NO EVIDENCE is “sufficient evidence” in alleged FGM cases, where the CPS/police only target men, although it’s invariably women who carry out FGM at the behest of women. The CPS/police don’t target the middle-aged or elderly black women who actually carry out FGM, leaving female minors to their fate, sacrificed on the altar of feminist ideology.] to prosecute for an offence of child cruelty and it was in the public interest.
“The judge at Bristol crown court had the opportunity to hear the evidence live and challenged. He then made a decision to stop the case yesterday. We respect the judge’s decision [J4MB: Given there was NO EVIDENCE, the alternative to respecting the judge’s decision would be…?] and will not be appealing.
“This was an unusual and unprecedented case for the prosecution. Where we feel there is sufficient evidence, and it is in the public interest to pursue, it is right that we put cases before the court so that a decision can be made by judge or jury.”
Lisa Zimmerman, director of Integrate UK, described the judge’s decision to stop the trial as very disappointing. [J4MB: “Very disappointing” despite there being NO EVIDENCE.] “It is shameful that there has still never been a successful prosecution of this crime in the UK despite the fact that so many girls have been abused in this way across the country,” she said.
“The CPS and safeguarding services must protect young girls by taking urgent and serious action to ensure that perpetrators feel the full force of the law.
“Where there is evidence of genital mutilation the case must be prosecuted under the FGM Act.”
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