Family court judge had already blamed man cleared of FGM by Old Bailey jury

A family court judge had already blamed a man who was accused of subjecting a three-year-girl to female genital mutilation (FGM), despite him being later cleared by a criminal court jury.

The man was earlier this year found not guilty following a trial at the Old Bailey in London.

His former partner, the girl’s mother, had been found guilty.

She was given a 13-year jail term a month ago after becoming the first person to be convicted of FGM in a criminal court in England and Wales.

But a family court judge had already analysed evidence in separate litigation and concluded that both the man and woman were involved.

Judge Carol Atkinson had last year been asked to make findings of fact by council social services bosses with responsibility for the girl’s welfare.

She had overseen a private hearing at the East London Family Court, and made a ruling in April 2018.

That ruling had been kept under wraps pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.

But the judge on Monday said it could now be reported.

Judge Atkinson says in the ruling that the girl suffered injuries which amounted to mutilation.

The judge says those injuries occurred when the girl was in the care of the woman and the man.

She says she is “satisfied” that both the woman and man were involved and adds, “whoever did inflict these injuries did not do so alone”.

Judge Atkinson had made findings based on the balance of probabilities in a bid to help social workers make decisions about the girl’s future care.

Jurors returned verdicts on a beyond-reasonable-doubt basis.

Judges have said neither the girl nor the man and woman can be identified in media reports of the case.

Old Bailey jurors heard that the girl’s mother was 37, came from Uganda and had lived in Walthamstow, east London, and that the man was a 43-year-old Ghanaian.

Mrs Justice Whipple had overseen the Old Bailey trial.

She had imposed an 11-year sentence for FGM and added a two-year term for offences relating to indecent images and extreme pornography.

“FGM has long been against the law and let’s be clear FGM is a form of child abuse,” she had said.

“It’s a barbaric practice and a serious crime. It’s an offence which targets women, particularly inflicted when they are young and vulnerable.”

Mr Justice Whipple said it was not known why the woman inflicted FGM on her child, contrary to her culture, although witchcraft was a possibility.

– Judge Atkinson allowed her ruling to be reported when considering a number of issues at a follow-up hearing in the East London Family Court on Monday, after an application by reporters from the Daily Mail and the Press Association.

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