Friday, May 30, 2014
Doctor who told undercover reporter he could arrange female genital mutilation to be carried out on two girls aged 10 and 13 could be struck-off
A doctor faces being struck off after he told an undercover reporter that he could arrange for female circumcision to be carried out on two girls aged 10 and 13.
Dr Ali Mao-Aweys was caught on camera discussing female genital mutilation (FGM) with a female investigator, who posed as an aunt asking about the procedure for her nieces.
The practice, which in its most extreme form can involve the almost complete sewing up of a girl's vagina, has been illegal in the UK since 1985.
Dr Mao-Aweys denied offering to assist in arranging female genital mutilation, and was released without charge by police following an investigation.
However, a fitness to practise panel at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service in Manchester today ruled that he had offered to help the undercover reporter, and will now consider whether he should be allowed to continue to work as a doctor.
Dr Mao-Aweys, who has private clinics in Birmingham and Haringey, north London, was targeted in an undercover Sunday Times sting masterminded by 'Fake Sheikh' Mahzer Mahmood in April 2012.
The Somalian national was filmed discussing the barbaric procedure on a camera hidden in the handbag of an unknown female investigator. Posing as a patient 'Ms A', the reporter told the GP she wanted her two fictional nieces, aged 10 and 13, circumcised during a visit from Ghana.
The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 made it an offence to carry out the procedure on a British female anywhere in the world.
Mao-Aweys was arrested along with Birmingham dentist Omar Addow in May 2012 following the publication of the story on the investigation in the Sunday Times.
Both were released without charge, but Addow was struck off by the General Dental Council last year after he was found to have offered to perform circumcision on the girls.
Mao-Aweys, who denied the charges, is now facing the same fate after the fitness to practise panel ruled against him today.
'The panel decided that the recordings indicate that Dr Mao-Aweys initially considered doing the operations himself,' said chairman Dr Anthony Morgan. 'Even if Dr Mao-Aweys did not understand the English word 'nieces' he quickly established the ages and genders of the children to whom Ms A was referring.
'He then described an FGM procedure by drawing a diagram, which he referred to as a pharaonic cut [the most extreme form of FGM].'
Dr Morgan added: 'It is clear that Dr Mao-Aweys knew that all FGM operations are illegal in the United Kingdom by the references he made to this fact in the consultation and by the comments of it being 'dangerous' with the possibility of going to jail.
'At no point in the consultation did he raise the issue of safeguarding children or any objections on his part to FGM.
'He did not seek to dissuade Ms A from continuing with her plans and only suggested that it would be safer (in the sense of not being illegal) for her to go abroad to have the operation carried out.'
The panel saw video footage from two consultations at Mao-Aweys' Birmingham clinic as well as the transcript from a phone call made by the journalist.
When asked about the procedure, sometimes referred to as 'cutting', he can be heard to say: 'Ah yes. I can help you.' At one point he also said: 'A Girl. Yes I do girl.'
During their meetings Mao-Aweys offered to assist the investigator in her efforts to have two girls circumcised and said he knew a doctor in Birmingham who could help.
He told her it was a very short procedure, lasting less than ten minutes, as well as explaining the potential psychological problems and risks if the girls talked to friends or teachers.
At times the doctor seems reluctant to discuss performing the operation and warns the reporter of the legal ramifications if caught.
He said: 'In Gambia, Somalia - my country - it's no problem, but here they talk too much,' adding: 'I think it's best you go to Africa.'
When Mazher Mahmood phoned Mao-Aweys on April 21 to put the allegations to the doctor he denied offering to assist in FGM.
He continued to deny the claims in interviews with police after he was arrested on 4 May 2012 and said he thought the reporter was referring to boys when she said nieces.
During the hearing, Mao-Aweys, whose first language is German, claimed he had been 'entrapped' by the journalist and had thought he was discussing a legal FGM 'reversal' procedure or circumcision on boys.
He failed to mount a full defence case when he walked out of the hearing after splitting with his legal team and losing a string of legal challenges to halt proceedings, claiming he had racked up around £250,000 in legal fees since the allegations emerged.
The panel found his version of events was 'not credible or reliable' and that the recordings show he quickly established they were talking about females.
'Dr Mao-Aweys' own account of the tone of the consultation with Ms A appears to be at odds with what is seen and heard in the video footage,' said Dr Morgan.
The panel will now decide if his fitness to practise is impaired due to misconduct before considering what sanction to impose.
Prizes for none? Organisers of Edinburgh Marathon refuse to publish results 'out of respect' for runners
Angry runners have lashed out at organisers of Edinburgh's Marathon for not allowing them to see a complete list of winners and losers - because they are being 'respectful'.
The race organisers for one of the major events in Britain's sporting calendar have only announced times and placings for the top three in an event that featured almost 10,000 runners.
But other entrants have been told by GSi Events, a company that specialises in fundraising projects, that their achievement will be 'exclusively available' to them and published only if they give permission.
This comes as furious runners threaten to boycott future events amid questions that hard-earned times and placings would not count if they were not officially published.
Simon Hart, a 50-year-old from Brentwood in Essex, ran the race in 2 hours 38 minutes and finished fourteenth.
He said: 'To find out that my result would not be published is disappointing in the extreme. Unless the policy changes, I will not be participating in events run by GSi Events again, and would advise other club runners to avoid as well.'
A Scottish Athletics spokesman said: 'It is a matter of concern. We're acutely aware of it and in discussions with the company, trying to get to the bottom of it.'
GSi Events, have not given a comment or responded to online criticisms on the marathon's own Facebook page.
But the marathon's website says: 'All your personal data and information, including your running times, are treated with great respect. Your result information is exclusively available to you.
'We will only openly publish the top three finishers of each race. You will need to log in to get your times, splits and finishing position within the race. You can then choose to share this information as you see fit.'
Ian Kiltie, a veteran runner from Derby, was amazed he could not access a friend's result.
He said: 'What next - no one is allowed to watch in case they see how people did? Stop televising the London Marathon, Great North Run, etc.?'
Such a policy is virtually unheard of - and runners yesterday were claiming it breaches International Amateur Athletics Association rules and could endanger Edinburgh's status as a recognised event.
The IAAF rules state clearly: 'Official results for all participants should be made available on the race's website within the shortest possible time.'
It is unclear who wanted the policy of not publishing results, but the supposed confidentiality is undermined by the event's own photographs section, where runners can enter anyone's name and see a selection of pictures of them in various amounts of distress, along with their finishing time.
Edinburgh runner Hector Haines said: 'Not having results after the race devalues the whole event.
Proof that tougher sentences DO work: 3% drop in crimes after post-riots crackdown
Tough punishments really do deter criminals, an academic study of the London riots of 2011 shows.
Researchers found that firm sentences handed down in the wake of the disorder cut crime for months afterwards across the capital and elsewhere around the country.
The effect of the harsher punishments was to reduce crime levels by 3 per cent in the months after the summer riots. There was a fall-off in burglary, criminal damage and crimes of a violent nature.
The report compared crime rates before the riots with those six months later. There was a drop in crime even in London boroughs far away from the disorder and in areas of England and Wales which had not been involved. Researchers said this proves the threat of prison is a powerful deterrent.
The study found that six months after the riots, there was still a ‘significant’ drop in crime in all areas of London. ‘We observe a decline in crime even in London areas located far from the riot incidents and in police force areas in England and Wales that were not affected by the riots,’ said the researchers.
‘This is consistent with the operation of a deterrence effect from tougher sentencing.’
The researchers from University College London and Oxford University said that usually crime rates change too slowly to be able to work out the effects of tougher sentencing.
However, the riots offered an ample opportunity as 4,600 rioters were arrested and 2,250 were brought to court over a short period.
They were given longer sentences by judges who decided that those who took advantage of public disorder needed harsher treatment.
Up to 15,000 people took part in five days of rioting that followed the shooting of Mark Duggan by the Metropolitan Police.
There were five deaths and more than 5,000 crimes were committed, mainly burglary, criminal damage and violent crimes such as assault.
The study, published in the Economic Journal, found that rioters brought to court were almost three times more likely to be jailed than people with a similar profile who had committed similar crimes in 2010.
On average, their jail terms were two months longer than those handed down for the same kind of crimes in the previous year.
Among the most notable examples of firm sentences was the six-month term given to Nicholas Robinson by a district court judge for stealing six bottles of mineral water worth £3.50, and the ten months Danielle Corns received for stealing two left-footed trainers during disorder in Wolverhampton.
The researchers said that the fall in burglary, violence and vandalism was not the result of increased police presence – in fact, there were fewer police patrols after the riots than beforehand.
Neither did the drop occur because the riot criminals were in jail, as crime fell in areas far away from where the jailed criminals had been active.
The report found there was a small increase in crimes untypical of riots, such as robbery.
Researchers suggested this also showed deterrence worked, as criminals turned to offences less likely to attract a long sentence.
Christian GP 'refused to help lesbian couple have a baby, saying he did not believe same-sex couples should have children'
A lesbian couple claim they were denied fertility treatment by a Christian GP practice that said they should not have children.
Lisa Gilligan and Amy Hyde say their doctor delayed a crucial application letter, while a manager told them staff ‘did not believe same-sex couples should have children’.
The couple, who have been together for seven years, tried to conceive with a sperm donor for two years before their GP Tom Accialini, of Lambeth Street surgery in Blackburn, Lancashire, sent them to a specialist clinic.
But when tests showed they needed treatment, he did not send off their application for funding, they said.
Couples have three months from the time they are referred to get funding approved – and all letters must be signed by a GP.
Miss Gilligan, 30, said: ‘I kept ringing and ringing but no one would tell me anything. I rang the site manager, Mary Piper. At first, I was told the letter was on the doctor’s desk . . . but then she said they couldn’t do it. She said they were a Christian practice and . . . don’t believe same-sex couples should have children.’
Cornerstone Practice, of which Lambeth Street is part, has apologised and agreed to send the letter, more than two months after the couple say it was given to Dr Accialini. They have complained to the NHS.
Miss Gilligan said the delay was ‘heartbreaking’, adding: ‘We are just hoping it’s not too late, otherwise we’ll have to go through this whole process again.’
Miss Hyde, also 30, said: ‘Why, if it was against their Christian beliefs for us to have children, would they refer us for tests?’
Cornerstone Practice’s website states it has ‘a Christian foundation’ but ‘will not discriminate against anyone because of gender, sexuality, sexual preference, religion, race or age’.
NHS Lancashire said it was investigating, adding: ‘If a doctor is unable or unwilling to act for personal ethical reasons, he or she has a duty to ensure a patient can access another opinion.’
Katie Stanton of Cornerstone said it could not comment due to patient confidentiality.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.