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Accused must remove veil

A Muslim woman will be allowed to stand trial wearing a full-face veil but must remove it while giving evidence, Judge Peter Murphy has ruled at Blackfriars Crown Court in London.

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Judge: Woman cannot give evidence if she keeps veil

A judge said that if a Muslim woman refuses to take off her veil in court to give evidence she should not be allowed to testify.

The woman must also remove her niqab in front of a female police officer or other witnesses for identification purposes.

Judge Peter Murphy said the woman must be given time to reflect when asked to take off her veil and added: "If she refuses the judge should not allow her to give evidence and must give the jury a clear direction."

He also said: "No tradition or practice, whether religious or otherwise, can claim to occupy such a privileged position that the rule of law, open justice and the adversarial trial process are sacrificed to accommodate it.

"That is not a discrimination against religion, it is a matter of upholding the rule of law in a democratic society."

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