The Daily Telegraph
February 5 2016
"Justice Peter Johnson raised concerns that the three accused had not rejected the practise of female genital mutilation called “khatna,” which is traditionally performed on seven-year-old girls."
A SUPREME Court Justice has questioned the remorse of two women convicted of female genital mutilation, saying they have not said if they now reject the practice or will speak out against the procedure which is a tradition in their small Muslim sect.
A midwife, Kubra Magennis, 72, and a 39-year-old mother of four girls (known as A2 during the court proceedings) were convicted by a jury of mutilating the clitorises of the younger woman’s two eldest daughters in November last year, becoming the first people in Australia to be successfully prosecuted for female genital mutilation.
They face a maximum penalty of seven years jail.
At the sentencing hearing Justice Johnson criticised a psychological report tendered by A2 and Vaziri’s defence barrister Robert Sutherland SC saying it focused on the mother and not the impact of the crime she committed against her daughters.
“It is largely a report on what the impact on the family is if the mother goes to jail, no one has asked her (the eldest daughter) as a victim of crime what her attitude is towards the crime.”
Crown Prosecutor Nannette Williams asked that a suppression order on the name of the midwife, initially only known as KM, be lifted which was opposed by her defence barrister Stuart Bouveng on the ground the “frail” woman’s safety was at risk.
The judge later lifted the suppression order, allowing the midwife’s name to be publicised.
Magennis and her husband tendered affidavits that they had been harassed and received threatening phone calls over the past three years.
The religious leader of their Shia Muslim sect, Dawoodi Bohra, Sheik Shabbir Mohammedbhai Vaziri, was found guilty of being an accessory after the fact to the procedure.
At a sentencing hearing today, Justice Peter Johnson raised concerns that the three accused had not rejected the practise of female genital mutilation called “khatna,” which is traditionally performed on seven-year-old girls.
“I am not sure that I have seen any of these accused saying they reject all practises of that sort … and they do take action in the Dawoodi Bohra community to speak out against that,” Justice Johnson said
During the eight-and-a-half week trial the jury heard A2 had arranged for Magennis to perform the procedure called “khatna” on her daughters on two different occasions in Wollongong and Baulkham Hills in Sydney’s north west between October 2009 and August 2012.
The injuries consisted of a nick or cut to the girls’ clitorises.
When police began investigating the practice Vaziri told community members to tell detectives that they did not practise female genital mutilation.
The tiny Auburn-based sect came to police attention in 2012 after they received a tip-off from a reformist Dawoodi Bohra member that the orthodox followers practised female genital mutilation.
The hearing continues.