Judge permits Muslim defendant to wear veil


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The Independent Online

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.