Doctor accused of altering story in female genital mutilation trial

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images

A doctor accused of carrying out female genital mutilation (FGM) on a young mother has “tailored” his story to combat allegations of wrongdoing, jurors have been told.

Dhanuson Dharmasena, 32, of Rushden Gardens, allegedly illegally stitched the woman back up after she gave birth at Whittington Hospital, Archway, in November 2012 – re-doing the FGM she had as a six-year-old girl in Somalia.

Prosecuting, Kate Bex, accused the doctor of changing his story to rebuff criticisms, but Dharmasena insists he is innocent and finds FGM “abhorrent”.

Closing her case, she told jurors at London’s Southwark Crown Court: “It is sometimes said consistency is the hallmark of truth. Has Dr Dharmasena here been consistent?

“I suggest to you that there have been three different versions, all tailored slightly to a developing situation - the second on legal advice and the third to you in evidence following expert evidence.”

She added: “It is a difficult case, it has been a difficult two weeks. There are no winners, only losers in a case like this.”

But she urged jurors to consider the case dispassionately.

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Prosecutors claim that Dharmasena cut the woman, known only as AB, open to deliver the baby, and re-stitched her afterwards - amounting to FGM.

Ms Bex said the case hinged on a “factual dispute” over the extent to which the woman was stitched up.

She claimed AB was returned to her “pre-delivery state” and medical notes appeared to show Dharmasena sewed a 0.6in (1.5cm) stitch.

Ms Bex told jurors: “I suggest that Dr Dharmasena did not (in his accounts to police or the hospital) suggest that what he had done was a tiny stitch.”

Dharmasena denies female genital mutilation.

Another man denies one count of abetting the offence and another alternative count of encouraging or assisting the commission of an offence.

The trial continues.