“Massive violation”: Martina Obi-Uzom was found guilty of unlawful wounding ( Tony Palmer )
A devout Christian pharmacist posed as the mother of a young boy to have him circumcised against his parents’ wishes, a court heard.
Martina Obi-Uzom, 70, took the child to a Jewish mohel, trained in the procedure, for the operation.
Obi-Uzom was accompanied by a male friend and filled in a consent form, duping the mohel into believing they were the boy’s parents.
His mother was furious when she found out and reported Obi-Uzom to the police, Inner London crown court heard.
Obi-Uzom, who runs a pharmacy in Clacton-on-Sea, was acquitted at trial of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm but was convicted by a jury of unlawful wounding.
Judge Freya Newbery handed Obi-Uzom a 14-month prison sentence yesterday but agreed to suspend it for 18 months, saying there was a “vanishingly small risk of re-offending”.
“It was an arrogant and imperious decision you made to impose your own will as to what should be done, in place of the parents,” she said.
“The procedure is a well-recognised one carried out over history in many different communities and countries. It’s up to the parents, and that is what was missing here. You imposed your will as to what should happen.”
The judge said Obi-Uzom had committed a “massive violation”, but said she had lived an upstanding life and contributed to her community, including charity work with disadvantaged children.
Prosecutor Louis Mably QC said the boy had suffered an “irreversible and lifelong injury” in the circumcision procedure.
Obi-Uzom booked the procedure in Golders Green then lied on the consent form to trick the mohel.
“What is unusual is that the harm caused can be caused lawfully, when it is with consent,” said Mr Mably.
The court heard Obi-Uzom believed circumcision in boys had “great religious and cultural significance”, in accordance with her Christian faith.
John Femi-Ola, mitigating, said Obi-Uzom had built up her pharmacy business after moving to the UK from Nigeria and it was now in peril as a result of her conviction.
Obi-Uzom, of Clacton-on-Sea, was ordered to pay £1,500 in prosecution costs and a £140 court fee and could now face professional disciplinary proceedings.