MUNSTER EXPRESS, Waterford, County Waterford, Ireland, Friday, 16 January 2004.

Accused is fourth generation circumcisionist
Report by Michael Quinn

A Nigerian asylum seeker, charged with performing a circumcision with a razor blade which lead to the death of a 29-day-old boy in Waterford city last August, was granted bail in Waterford Circuit Court on Wednesday.

The charge against the accused man, Osagie Ighinedion, Ormonde House, John's Green, Kilkenny, was adjourned to the next sessions when Mr. Tom Teehan, BL., instructed by Mr. Frank Hutchinson, State Solr., for the DPP, said the case was not ready to proceed because technical tests sent to the UK had not yet been returned. The tests were an essential part of the State case.

Judge Ml. O'Shea said he was satisfied the State was awaiting technical evidence and agreed to adjourn the case to next sessions.

The accused is charged with intentionally or recklessly performing the circumcision on an infant, Callis Osaghae, at Summerhill Mews, Waterford, on August 17, 2003, with a razor blade which created substantial risk of death or serious harm.

Applying for bail, Mr. John O'Kelly SC., instructed by Mr. Brian Chesser, solr., for the accused man, said his client had no previous convictions and he had been in prison since last September. He was in a dreadful situation and finding it extremely difficult in prison as he was being subjected to stigma and abuse by other prisoners. He was being called a `baby killer'. Since coming to Ireland, he formed a close relationship with an Irish woman and, prior to his arrest, he did not run away.

Not illegal in Nigeria
Mr. O'Kelly said the accused carried out something which was not illegal in his own country, Nigeria, and things appeared to have gone very wrong. He was the son of a local Judge in Nigeria and a fourth generation cicumcisionist. He did it as a favour for another member of the Nigerian community in Ireland.

Mr. Teehan said the Gardai would not oppose bail on condition that the accused man signed on daily at Kilkenny Garda Station and stayed at a nominated address at 31, Millenium Court, Kilkenny, and notified the Gardai of any change of address. Other conditions of bail should be that he handed in his passport, undertook not to carry out any further circumcisions and not make contact with the witneses named the in the Book of Evidence or those disclosed by the prosecution. A substantial independent surety was also being sought.

Mr. O'Kelly said that, apart from the independent surety, his client would have no difficulty with the other conditions of bail. He had no passport and his girl friend would put up €1,000 cash bail but, due to the fact he had been in prison, his own resources were exhausted. Granting bail subject to the conditions, Judge O'Shea warned the accused not to leave the jurisdiction until the case was concluded.

(File revised 19 January 2004)