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Queensland mum may have had daughters’ genitals mutilated because she had same procedure, court hears

A Queensland woman might have arranged for her two daughters to undergo female genital mutilation because she'd undergone a similar procedure as a girl, her trial has been told.

The Somali-born mother has been on trial in the Brisbane District Court where she has pleaded not guilty to taking her daughters, then aged nine and 12, to the African country in April 2015 for FGM.

In closing arguments on Wednesday, crown prosecutor Dejana Kovac said the accused mother had suffered a similar procedure as a young girl.

She said it may explain why she allowed her daughters to undergo the same procedure.

Prosecutors allege the girls were unaware when they were taken to Somalia in April 2015 that they would be undergoing a procedure to remove parts of their genitalia.

They allege it was the entire reason for the trip, and that their mother was with them during the "excruciating" procedure.

"She had them in her care for the entire time. She was there when they were mutilated not long after they arrived in Somalia," Ms Kovac said.

"She extended the trip to give them time to heal before returning to Australia."

Paediatrician Ryan Mills, who examined the girls, told the court the flattening of their clitoral hoods and discolouration of associated skin was "abnormal" and unlikely to be a "natural variation".

"(The abnormalities) could be explained or are consistent with, in medical terms, genital mutilation," he told the court on Tuesday.

He said there was no therapeutic reason for the procedure, which would have been painful and may cause long-term health issues.

Defence barrister Patrick Wilson said key medical evidence could have been interpreted differently by doctors not familiar with the case.

"To put it bluntly, you can't be sure that this procedure happened," Mr Wilson said.

"That is my primary case - that this did not happen. If happened at all, it could have happened years earlier maybe overseas, maybe in Australia, we don't know, because there is no evidence."

He described the girls as unreliable witnesses and there was "uncertainty" surrounding the medical evidence given by Dr Mills.

"He was told by others that this was a case of female genital mutilation ... he accepts he was told what he was looking for. He accepts that the signs were subtle."

The jury will retire on Wednesday afternoon to consider its verdict.

Source: istock.com