In 2018 New South Wales Police charged American national Howard Rollins with aiding and abetting female genital mutilation in relation to an alleged botched procedure which was carried out by his friend and body modifier, Brendan Russell back in 2016. Click here for the full story  

Mr Rollins is not alleged to have touched the woman and told her “she didn’t have to go through with the procedure if she didn’t want”. The Woman went ahead with the procedure and Mr Rollins left before the procedure was finished. The District Court heard on early this month.

The Story

In 2016, a body modifier, Brendan Russell was accused of mutilating a woman’s genitals.  Mr Russell is accused of using a branding iron to burn the labia majora of the alleged victim. His co-accused, 41-year-old, Howard Rollins who is a tattoo artist is accused of coaching Mr Russell to perform the procedure where the branding iron was allegedly used. Mr Rollins has pleaded not guilty and is currently at trial at the District Court. Mr Russell’s trial will be heard in the upcoming weeks.

Mr Rollins who is known in the body modification industry and the self-proclaimed American inventor of the eyeball tattoo is also known as the “Luna Cobra”. He has pleaded not guilty in aiding and abetting female mutilation. The 41-year-old is accused of coaching Mr Russell to perform the procedure where the branding iron was allegedly used.

In 2017, Brendan Russell was charged with manslaughter and accused of causing a woman’s death by implanting a plastic snowflake under her right hand. The woman had complained about being in a lot of pain, but Mr Russell had urged her to visit him rather than going to the hospital. Mr Russell then rotated the plastic snowflake and inserted a second one. Her hand became heavily infected and she died weeks later from blood poisoning. She was found by her seven-year-old daughter in their home at Toowoon Bay.

Mr Russell’s third victim was a woman who visited his Erina tattoo and body modification business for a “tummy tuck” but she ended up with a hole in her skin the size of a 5 cent coin as well as severed stomach muscles. Mr Russell, who is not a qualified medical practitioner, has used the modification name Bslicedotcom on social media.

New South Wales Police set up a joint strike force named “Nellievale” to investigate a series of allegedly illegal body modifications within Newcastle and the coast.

In April 2020, the Health Care Complaints Commission made an interim prohibition order under section 41AA of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 stating that Mr Rollins must not provide any health services, including medical services, whether provided as part of paid or voluntary services. Medical services include any type of minor or major surgery, whether carried out for a medical, cosmetic or other purpose. Mr Rollins must not provide any health education services. Including training or instructing others in the provision of medical or health services. You can read the full order here.

April 2020 Mr Rollins pleaded not guilty to the charges of aiding and abetting the alleged removal of a woman’s labia minora and is currently at trial at the District Court. To read the full story click here.

The Law

Section 45 of the Crimes Act 1900 prohibits of female mutilation.

(1) A person who:

(a) excises, infibulates or otherwise mutilates the whole or any party of the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of another person, or

(b) aids, abets, counsels or procures a person to perform any of those acts on another person

Is liable to imprisonment for 21years.

There is no specific legislation in NSW for body modification, however member of skin penetration industry are required to follow public health regulations.  The Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2012 regulates body decorating and grooming practices carried out by people who are not registered as health professions.

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