Judge permits Muslim defendant to wear veil
Thursday 12 September 2013
A Muslim woman has been allowed to appear in court as a defendant and enter a plea without removing her full-face veil.
The woman, who denied a charge of witness intimidation, had been told by Judge Peter Murphy that she would have to show her face to enter a plea so she could be conclusively identified.
The Londoner, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, had argued that she was unable to remove the face covering in the presence of men for religious reasons.
The same judge today backed down and allowed her to enter the dock to plead not guilty while wearing a niqab after a female police officer, who saw her face when she was photographed after her arrest, had a private viewing with her in a room at Blackfriars Crown Court in London. The officer then swore on oath that it was the same woman.
Judge Murphy said: “I would be satisfied for the officer giving evidence, having seen the defendant backstage, so to speak, in a private setting, saying she could identify her.”
The judge will give directions on Monday as to whether the woman can stand trial while wearing a veil that shows only her eyes.
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