24 Aug 2013

Refusal to remove veil halts court case

12:41 pm on 24 August 2013

A judge in Britain has refused to allow a woman to enter a plea in court because she was wearing a full Muslim veil showing only her eyes.

The 21-year-old woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons, is facing an allegation of intimidating a witness.

Judge Peter Murphy said he would not allow her to stand trial unless she revealed her face.

"While I obviously respect the right to dress in any way she wishes, certainly while outside the court, the interests of justice are paramount," he said.

He said he could not accept a plea from a person whose identity he was not able to ascertain.

The woman told the court she could not remove the veil in front of any men because of her religion, the BBC reports.

Her female barrister suggested that she, a female prison officer or a female prison guard could identify the defendant and confirm to the court she was the same person as in the police arrest photos.

The case has been adjourned for legal arguments about whether the defendant should have to remove her veil.