Dr Dharmasena, a registrar at the Whittington hospital, is charged with one count of an offence contrary to the Genital Mutilation Act 2003.
Dr Dharmasena, a registrar at the Whittington hospital, is charged with one count of an offence contrary to the Genital Mutilation Act 2003.Reuters

Dr Dhanuson Dharmasena is accused of carrying out female genital mutilation on a woman soon after the birth of her first child at London's Whittington Hospital.

In the first prosecution against someone for carrying out FGM in England and Wales, the Crown alleged that Dr Dharmasena had mutilated the woman in the manner in which he had sewn her up after childbirth.

"It is the stitching back together by Dr Dharmasena which the prosecution says is an offence under the act," Kate Bex, prosecuting, told Southwark crown court.

On the first day of the trial, the jury heard how the woman, named only as "AB" to protect her identity, first underwent type 3 FGM – in which part of the labia are sewn together – at the age of six in Africa.

The 27-year-old woman had her labia sewn up, making intercourse impossible. This was partially reversed at another London hospital, and she later went on to conceive her first child.

The court heard that once in labour during November 2012, her remaining stitches had to be cut open.

After she had given birth, Dharmasena then sewed her back up, in a procedure that amounted to FGM, the court heard.

The doctor, who was junior registrar in obstetrics and gynaecology, acted at the request of Mr Mohamed, said Kate Bex QC, prosecuting.

"It is that stitching back together by Dharmasena, and Mr Mohamed's insistence or encouragement, which the prosecution says is an offence," Ms Bex told jurors.

When Dharmasena sewed her up, a midwife warned him that what he had done was illegal. He asked a consultant for advice, and the more senior doctor said it would be "painful and humiliating" to remove the stitch he had made, and it remained in place, the court heard.

Dharmasena, 32, is charged alongside another man, Hasan Mohamed, 41, who is accused of aiding and abetting the doctor. Both men deny the charges. If found guilty, Dharmasena could face up to 14 years in prison.