First female genital mutilation case to go to trial in Australian court

Dec 10, 2014
Crime
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An elderly woman has pleaded not guilty to performing female genital mutilation on two young sisters.

The woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will stand trial next year alongside the girls’ mother and a man.

First female genital mutilation case to go to trial in Australian Supreme Court

Mark Tedeschi, QC, said there will probably be some dispute over the term “khatna”. Photo: Dallas Kilponen

Chief Justice Tom Bathurst has allowed the case to be heard in the Supreme Court as it is the first time in NSW – and possibly Australia – that a person or people have been prosecuted for such an offence.

On Tuesday, senior Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi, QC, said the case would tackle a number of “significant legal issues” including the scope of female genital mutilation covered under the Crimes Act. The maximum penalty is 21 years’ jail.

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