Judge stops robbery trial when Muslim witness swears on Bible instead of Koran

Liverpool judge ended trial after releasing witness gave evidence after swearing on the wrong holy book

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The Independent Online

A judge stopped a trial in Liverpool because a Muslim witness swore on the Bible instead of the Koran. 

Michael Davies, 38, had been on trial accused of attempting to rob a takeaway in Birkenhead, armed with a hammer, the BBC reports.

However, the trial at Liverpool Crown Court was brought to a close when it became apparent that Kerim Kurt, the Muslim manager of the takeaway, had given evidence after swearing on the Bible, instead of the Koran.

The courtroom was cleared and the witnesses left the stand before the judge announced that the trial could not continue and discharged the jury.

Mr Recorder Thompson had been quoted as saying it would be better to start again with a fresh jury “who doesn’t think we’re all totally incompetent".

Mr Kurt had been asked by the court staff whether he was content to take the oath on the New Testament prior to giving evidence. He confirmed that he was, Recorder Patrick Thompson said as he scheduled a new trial.

In his statement Mr Recorder Thompson said he believed his decision to end the trial was wrong.

Mr Kurt declared that he respected all holy books and wanted to swear "on the holy book of the country in which he was residing", according to Mr Recorder Thompson.

"I took the view that Mr Kurt should have sworn on the Koran as a Muslim, however, in hindsight, it is a personal matter for any witness as to how they wish to be sworn," he said.