"a fear that her family would send her to Bangladesh"
A schoolgirl who was scared of being forced into an arranged marriage was attacked by her father and brother for having a secret phone and a Facebook account.
The 15-year-old was whipped with an electrical cable, hit with a walking stick, slapped and spat at.
Leicester Crown Court heard that the defendants suspected that she was using the phone to contact another female relative, who escaped an arranged marriage and moved away.
They also suspected that the teenager may have been using the phone to contact boys.
The defendants’ identities have not been published because of a court order made to protect the victim.
Nadia Silver, prosecuting, said that during one confrontation, the brother demanded to see her Facebook account. When she refused, he grabbed an electrical lead and bent it over so that it was double thickness.
Miss Silver said: “He hit her with it a number of times on various parts of her body, including the top of her foot.
“A scar from that was still visible a month later when a police officer took a photograph.”
The girl’s father hit her with a wooden walking stick on her left arm, knee and calf when she came home late from a school event.
The next day, the brother went to his sister’s school and tried to get the mobile from her locker, but staff denied him access.
When she was confronted, her brother demanded to know if she had a phone. When she admitted it, he spat in her face and said: “You’re not my sister anymore.”
Miss Silver said: “The father, who was present in the front room with the other family members, also spat in her face.”
The next day, the brother was again refused access to his sister’s locker.
This resulted in the head of safeguarding speaking to the girl, who winced in pain when given “a reassuring touch” on her shoulder. She revealed that she had been assaulted at home.
Miss Silver explained that girl feared being forced into an arranged marriage. She said:
“She expressed a fear that her family would send her to Bangladesh to be married against her will.”
The final confrontation was when her brother slapped her for refusing to hand over the phone.
During a family meeting at the school, the brother “expressed the family’s concern the girl was making inappropriate contact with boys using her phone”.
She added: “It was put to him that (his sister) disclosed he had struck her and spat at her.
“He accepted he had done so and said this is ‘what they did’.”
The girl was taken into care and was subsequently made the subject of a forced marriage prevention order.
In a police interview, the brother said he discovered his sister had opened a Facebook account and had a secret mobile, given to her by an older female relative who had moved away.
He suspected it was for his sister to “make relationships”.
He said he unintentionally hit his sister with the cable when trying to scare her into showing him her Facebook account.
The father and brother claimed the injuries were due to the victim self-harming.
They later admitted to two counts of common assault during the end of 2019.
Omar Majid, defending both, said: “They are remorseful. They know it was wrong.”
Judge Ebraham Mooncey said:
“You both know it’s wrong to hit someone and in this case, both of you assaulted a child.”
“You’ve now received the message loud and clear by way of being arrested by the police and going through the justice system.
“I have in mind this girl’s interests and she’s telling the court (in a victim impact statement) she doesn’t want anything to do with you.”
Leicester Mercury reported that the defendants each received three-month prison sentences, suspended for 15 months.
They also received a seven-year restraining order unless varied by the family court.
Judge Mooncey added: “To protect her I’m ordering that you must not contact her, directly or indirectly, or go to her school.
“If you see her walking down the road or at a function it’s your job to walk away.
“If you breach the restraining order you will end up in prison.
“I’m aware you’re both of previous good character and are keen to point out it won’t happen again.”