Man who botched son's home-circumcision found guilty

The Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on July 21, 2011. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)

The Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa on July 21, 2011. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)

Brigitte Pellerin, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 2:01 PM ET

OTTAWA — The Supreme Court has ruled that a British Columbia man who tried to circumcise his 4-year-old son on the kitchen floor of his house is guilty of criminal negligence causing bodily harm, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon.

The top court was asked to hear whether his attempt was allowed under freedom of religion provisions.

The botched surgery happened in April 2007. He used a carpet blade that he purchased at Home Depot earlier that day and sterilized. He didn't give his son any anesthetic, just four ounces of homemade honey wine.

According to the Crown, the father lacked the medical skills to perform a circumcision. He tried to circumcise himself in 2005 using a Zhenxi ring, or circumcision ring. It wasn't successful and the father had to be rushed to a hospital.

The circumcision he performed on his son two years later wasn't successful either and there was significant bleeding, which the father stopped with the help of a veterinary blood-stopping agent and paper towels. "The result," according to court documents submitted by the Crown, was "the foreskin on D.J.'s penis stuck out like two arms. D.J. was not circumcised. He was disfigured."

The pair cannot be named.

In 2009 the man was charged with criminal negligence causing bodily harm, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon. He was convicted of criminal negligence causing bodily harm but acquitted of the other two charges. The B.C. Court of Appeal found him guilty on all counts, and he appealed to the Supreme Court.

The father, as a Jehovah's Witness, said he believes circumcision is necessary to "make things right with God."

The Jehovah's Witness church does not condone or forbid circumcision.

The man also argues he didn't intend to hurt his son and took many safety precautions including consulting doctors (who advised him against it) and reading about circumcision online.

 


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