BBC News, 22 October 2003.

Circumcision 'doctor' denies wounding boys

Mr Amechi is said to have been circumcising boys for eight years

A man circumcised two baby boys in their mothers' front rooms after leading them to believe he was a medical doctor, a court heard.

Omunnakwe Amechi, 53, would turn up at houses smartly dressed and carrying a doctor's kit bag, Woolwich Crown Court was told.

But his doctorate was a PhD in chemistry, which was to do with the workings of rats' brains, and he had no formal medical qualifications.

Mr Amechi, of Goldsmith Street, Peckham, south-east London, denies two charges of unlawful wounding and two deception charges.

Prosecutor Mark Wyeth told the court two boys, aged 14 months and 19 months, lost a lot of blood and needed transfusions and corrective surgery after being circumcised by Mr Amechi.

Mistaken belief

He said Mr Amechi used business cards, receipts and the title "doctor" given for his PhD to create a false impression of medical expertise.

"The defendant, by his conduct, induced in the mothers of these children the mistaken belief that he was medically qualified," he said.

"If he hadn't induced that state of belief neither would have consented to their sons being circumcised by this man."

The court heard Mr Amechi had been regularly circumcising young boys since 1995.

His business spread by word of mouth although he had no surgery or office.

But his business cards, which bore the title doctor, a phone number and a list of qualifications failed to clarify his non-medical status or give his home address, the prosecutor said.

He added there was no formal rules governing circumcision and it was not regulated by the General Medical Council or anyone else.

But those who performed surgery had to be "very clear about their qualifications, very clear about their training and need to be capable of carrying it out to a high and safe standard," said Mr Wyeth.

The trial continues.

(File prepared 23 October 2003)