Family court judge refuses to reopen FGM case after man was cleared in criminal case
A family court judge who concluded that a man played a part in subjecting a three-year-old girl to female genital mutilation (FGM) has refused to reopen the case.
The man had asked Judge Carol Atkinson to reconsider after he was cleared by a criminal court jury.
But Judge Atkinson said she has reviewed the evidence and remains sure her original decision was right.
The case hit the headlines earlier this year after the man and his former partner, who is the girl’s mother, went on trial at the Old Bailey (pictured) in London.
He was acquitted, while his former partner was found guilty and given a 13-year prison term.
She was the first person to be convicted of FGM in a criminal court in England and Wales.
Judge Atkinson had already analysed evidence, in separate family court litigation, and concluded both the man and woman were involved.
Judge 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.
Her ruling had been kept under wraps pending the outcome of criminal proceedings.
In April 2019, Judge Atkinson said her ruling could be revealed.
She granted an application by journalists from the Daily Mail and the Press Association, who argued that reporting of her ruling would be in the public interest.
Judge Atkinson had concluded the girl had suffered injuries which amounted to mutilation.
The judge said those injuries occurred when the girl was in the care of the woman and the man.
She said she was “satisfied” both the woman and man were involved.
The man had recently asked Judge Atkinson to reopen her investigation in the wake of his criminal court acquittal by jurors.
But the judge has refused, following a further hearing at the East London Family Court.
She said, in a follow-up ruling, that she had reviewed evidence and could see no reason to change her original decision.
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 the girl’s mother was 37, came from Uganda and had lived in Walthamstow, east London. The man was a 43-year-old Ghanaian.
Mrs Justice Whipple had overseen the Old Bailey trial.
She had imposed an 11-year sentence on the woman for FGM and added a two-year term for offences relating to indecent images and extreme pornography.
Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2019, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) Nick Ansell / PA Wire.