by Tom Tuite
A COUPLE are to face trial accused of genital mutilation of their daughter at their home in Dublin.
The man, 35, and the woman, 25, appeared before Judge Conal Gibbons at Dublin District Court on Thursday following their arrest that morning.
The couple, who are from an East African country, listened to the proceedings via an interpreter and swore on the Koran that they would not to apply for travel documents after they were ordered to surrender their passports.
They are accused of genital mutilation of the girl at their home in a south Dublin suburb on Sept. 16, 2016, and another charge under the Children’s Act for allowing a child to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected causing unnecessary suffering or injury.
Det Sergeant Danny Kelly told Judge Gibbons he arrested them at just after 10am and they were taken to a south Dublin Garda station to be charged.
He said the man’s reply after caution was: “I don’t want to say anything until my solicitor is here”.
The court heard the woman was charged minutes later and her response to the first charge was: “I have told you before when we had an interview here that no one performed mutilation and I did not agree to anyone performing mutilation of the child, she was not mutilated in any form”.
She had no comment when the second charge was put to her. The age of the child was not stated during the hearing yesterday/today (THUR).
Det Sergeant Kelly asked for an adjournment until Feb. 1 for a book of evidence to be completed.
He asked the judge to order them to surrender their passports. He told Judge Gibbons that the man, who is unemployed and an asylum seeker, did not have an Irish passport and he had feared that both would leave the country.
He told defence barrister Tom Power that subject to the bail condition being imposed he was satisfied they would show up. The court also heard that the man’s passport was already in the possession of immigration authorities.
They were ordered to surrender passports and not apply for any other travel documents, reside at their address, provide the garda with a mobile phone number on which they could be contacted at all times, sign on twice a week and notify gardai of a change of address.
They were also told their mobile phones must be kept operational at all times.
The man in evidence told the court he was giving an undertaking “not to apply for any travel documents or a new passport”. His partner also gave the same undertaking.
Judge Gibbons said the conditions were warranted and appropriate as he remanded them each on bail in own bonds of €300.
He also cautioned the media that there were reporting restrictions to protect the identity of the child.
According to RTÉ, it is the first time anyone has been charged in this country with the offence of female genital mutilation.