UK judge refuses to allow Muslim woman to plead while wearing burqa
London: A 21-year-old Muslim woman from Hackney was not let to enter a plea at a crown court in London because her burqa did not reveal her face.
According to the BBC, the woman, who is charged with intimidating a witness, said she could not remove the veil in front of men because of her religion. Judge Peter Murphy pointed out however, she could not stand trial in the veil, which only reveals her eyes, because her identity could not be confirmed, the report said.
He said that it was necessary for the court to be satisfied that they could recognize the defendant, adding that while he respected her right to dress in any way she wishes, certainly while outside the court, inside the interests of justice are paramount.
The woman’s barrister, Claire Burtwistle suggested a female police officer or prison guard could identify the defendant and confirm it to the court but Judge Murphy rejected the proposal, the report added.
When the woman returns to Blackfriars Crown Court on 12 September, she is expected to enter a not guilty plea, the report further said.
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