By Latrishka Thomas
A man recently found guilty of conducting a “botched circumcision” will be stripped of the distinction of being an ambassador for Antigua and Barbuda.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chet Greene made this disclosure to Observer yesterday, in reference to Patrick Matthews, an Ambassador-at-large, who was convicted on Tuesday of performing the surgical procedure without a licence, and receiving monies for the illegal act.
“With a conviction, it is unavoidable that his appointment be revoked; it is a matter of policy,” Greene said.
The alleged offence took place in Gunthropes on April 8, 2015 when Matthews, a chiropractor by profession, along with Arnold Joseph, an operating theatre practitioner, performed a circumcision on a then five-year-old boy.
As a result, the boy, now 11 years-old, reportedly suffered a number of complications as a result of the botched surgical procedure.
Matthews’ ambassadorship was suspended in 2019 when the case was first brought before the Magistrate’s court.
The Foreign Affairs Minister, however, expressed gratitude to the former member of the National Stroke Association (NSA), saying “I want to thank Dr Matthews for his service to our country and people, and wish him nothing but good luck and success in all his future endeavours.”
In early July, Matthews and his co-accused sat in the defence box and listened to several witnesses, including a number of medical practitioners, as they gave sworn evidence in their Judge-only trial which was adjudicated by Justice Ann-Marie Smith.
Subsequently, Matthews’ lawyer, Dr David Dorsett made a submission upon which Joseph’s lawyer, Michael Archibald, also relied.
But Justice Smith told the court that the submission did not succeed because “there is evidence that meets the prima facie threshold”.
A date was therefore set for a verdict to be handed down and, on Tuesday, the decision was in favour of the prosecution.
Evidence in the trial revealed Matthews was never registered to practice medicine in Antigua and Barbuda and that he pretended to be a doctor in the NSA and told the child’s parents that a circumcision is a service offered by the NSA with a high success rate.
Joseph is said to be the one who use an instrument to cut the minor’s genitals on instruction from Matthews.
Thereafter, Matthews prepared the young boy for surgery and clamped the foreskin.