Nigerian-born asylum seeker Osagie Igbinedion was arrested on Saturday in connection with the death of 30-day-old Callis Osaghae. The baby boy bled to death at Waterford Regional Hospital on August 18 after a botched circumcision which took place in his family’s home in the city.
Igbinedion did not speak during the three-minute hearing at a special sitting of Thomastown District Court in Kilkenny on Saturday. Wearing navy tracksuit bottoms, red trainers and a white T-shirt with blue and yellow trim, he sat with his head down just to the right of Judge Peter Smithwick.
Arresting officer, Sergeant John Hunt, said he formally arrested Igbinedion at Waterford Garda Station earlier that day and at 12.15pm he charged him.
The charge was that on August 17 at 7 Summerhill Mews, Waterford City, that he did intentionally or recklessly engage in conduct and performed a circumcision with a razor blade which created a substantial risk of death or serious harm to another, contrary to Section 13 of the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act 1997. Sgt Hunt said the accused did not make a reply when the charge was read to him. Gardaí applied that he be remanded in custody to Clover Hill Prison and that he would appear before Waterford District Court on Thursday. That application was later changed and he was instead remanded to appear before the local court at Clover Hill tomorrow morning. Inspector Tom King of Waterford Garda Station objected to bail on the grounds he believed he might commit another offence and that it was a very serious charge. He also added that the accused is a non-national, living in a hostel in Kilkenny. He had no permanent address.
“I would be concerned that he would not show up for his trial,” Inspector King added. Defence solicitor, Brian Closser, said his client had been residing in Ireland for the past 15 months and pointed out that his partner, Kathleen Galvin, was in court. He had been involved in a relationship with her for the past 12 months, he said, and was seeking asylum in this country. “Despite the gaze of media publicity, he did not run away.
“He remained in Kilkenny, in his hostel, and there are no grounds to claims he would run away.” Gardaí pointed out that the accused did not come forward to them. It was they who had in fact found him.
Judge Smithwick said he had no option but to remand him in custody. And on the grounds that there was likely to be a further remand, he opted to have his case heard before Clover Hill tomorrow. Free legal aid was granted, on the grounds that the defendant is an asylum seeker on €19 per week.