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A father has been found not guilty of organising for his nine-year-old daughter to undergo female genital mutilation (FGM) to punish her.

The 50-year-old man, of south London, had been accused of twice arranging for someone to cut the girl with a razor as she lay on a mat in the hallway.

He was also acquitted of five other charges at the Old Bailey, including child cruelty and wounding with intent.

The man, originally from West Africa, had denied all of the accusations.

The case is only the second FGM prosecution brought to court in the UK, both of which led to acquittals.

During the trial, jurors were told the child could not recall the identity of the person who allegedly subjected her to the ordeal twice between 2010 and 2013.

The girl said she cried in pain and begged for it to stop but her father just encouraged the cutter, the court heard.

'Social acceptance'

The allegations came to light after the girl told a friend, whose mother contacted Childline.

The prosecution told the jury the FGM did not happen for cultural or family reasons, but as a punishment.

However, Kate Bex QC, defending the father, suggested FGM was "predominantly perpetrated by female cutters on women" for reasons including "purification, honour and social acceptance".

The defendant was also accused of using the stick from a McDonald's balloon or a cane to hit his other children, the court heard.

Giving evidence, the father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told jurors he loved all his children equally.

He said: "I have never used any implement on any of my children. I have never used my hand to hit them."

The jury deliberated for more than six hours to find the man not guilty of all seven charges against him.

Original Article

BBC

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