According to the Daily Mail on Sunday, a UK doctor is to be sued for assault due to a circumcision the doctor performed. For the first time, such a lawsuit will be covered by legal aid (government legal assistance provided to those unable to pay for the legal services).
Mother to sue GP for circumcision ‘assault’ on son: Case could open floodgates for a new wave of ‘male genital mutilation’ complaints
- The doctor involved is Balvinder Mehat of Bakersfield Medical Centre
- Operation took place when the baby was taken to visit his father’s family
- The assault claim is being pursued by human rights lawyer Saimo Chahal QC
By Lois Rogers for The Daily Mail on Sunday
A British GP is to be prosecuted by an outraged mother for assault after circumcising her baby boy without her consent.
It is the first time legal aid has supported such an action and, if successful, campaigners claim the case could open the floodgates for a new wave of ‘male genital mutilation’ complaints from men who say they were subjected to the procedure as children, before they could decide for themselves.
The operation took place when the baby, whose parents are separated, was taken to visit his father’s family.
The doctor involved, Balvinder Mehat of Bakersfield Medical Centre in Nottingham, is alleged to have carried out the procedure before the baby was returned to his 26-year-old mother later the same day.
‘When my baby was brought back to me he was obviously in pain,’ said the mother, who is taking out a private prosecution against Dr Mehat.
‘He was screaming and crying, but trying to comfort him just disturbed the wound and made it worse. I could not believe what they had done to him.
‘He has been mutilated and suffered permanent damage.’
The mother, who lives in Nottingham, complained to the police and the doctors’ disciplinary body, the General Medical Council (GMC), after the operation in July 2013.
A spokesman for Nottinghamshire police said they had concluded there was insufficient evidence for a successful prosecution, while the GMC said that it could not comment on its investigation.
In recent years, doctors’ groups in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Holland, Iceland and Australia have spoken out against circumcision, while last December the Danish Medical Association declared that it should not be carried out on boys under 18 who could not give informed consent.
The assault claim is being pursued by human rights lawyer Saimo Chahal QC. She represented Briton Michael Sandford, recently released from jail after trying to grab a policeman’s gun to shoot Donald Trump at a Las Vegas rally in June.
Ms Chahal said: ‘This mother clearly did not consent to her son undergoing the circumcision procedure, which could constitute a criminal offence.
‘While some people with religious beliefs see circumcision as normal, there are others who see it as an unnecessary assault which can be physically and psychologically harmful.’
Tim Alford of the pressure group Men Do Complain, which is supporting the woman’s case, says there is a growing backlash against the ‘male genital mutilation’ involved in circumcision.
John Warren, 74, a retired physician from Harlow, Essex, who has been campaigning against child circumcision for 20 years, said: ‘A lot of men say they feel mutilated.’
David Smith of pressure group Genital Autonomy, which also represents angry circumcised men, added: ‘We’re hoping the case will open the floodgates for other complaints and a clarification that circumcision of non-consenting children is a human rights abuse.’
The British Medical Association says that it is revising its ethical guidelines on circumcision, which currently say: ‘It is for society to decide what limits should be imposed on parental choice.’ The new document is expected to be published sometime in the next year.
Dr Balvinder Mehat declined to comment.