JUDGE REMOVES MUSLIM WOMAN FROM COURT AFTER SHE REFUSES TO REMOVE BURKHA – Not only must Justice be done; it must also be seen to be done. Those are the famous words of Gordon Hewart, 1st Viscount Hewart and were to set precedence in the perception of our legal system that is still upheld today. For more information on Gordon Hewart, 1st Viscount Hewart, see wikipedia
This very concept is the reason why we have a jury system and why members of the public are permitted to sit in the gallery of any public court case for no court should be allowed to decide the fate of another in secrecy.
Yes that very statement is questionable but on the whole the British justice system is still open to public scrutiny.
During a recent court case at Blackfriars Crown Court Judge Peter Murphy ordered a Muslim defendant to remove her Burkha in the courtroom for the principle of ‘open justice’ overrode any religious belief the woman might have.
As she was brought to the bench Judge Murphy told the woman she must remove her Burkha before entering her plea. He argued that there was an inherent risk that the defendant could be an impersonator and that her face must be revealed so that she could be properly identified by the court.
The Muslim woman, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, was charged with intimidating a witness but told the court that her religious teachings forbade the removal of her Burkha in front of other men.
Regardless to her religious beliefs Judge Murphy insisted it was necessary and vital in the course of justice to identify the defendant.
“It is necessary for this court to be satisfied that they can recognise the defendant. While I obviously respect the right to dress in any way she wishes, certainly while outside the court, the interests of justice are paramount.
I can’t, as a circuit judge, accept a plea from a person whose identity I am unable to ascertain. It would be easy for someone on a later occasion to appear and claim to be the defendant.
The court would have no way to check on that.” Judge Peter Murphy
The woman’s barrister related to the court that her client was in no way prepared to remove her Burkha whilst other men were in the room and that if all men were removed she would then comply with the Judge’s request.
Her barristers suggested that it might be possible for a female police officer or prison guard to be allowed to confirm the woman’s identity and related this to the.
The prosecution also added that the police officer who was in charge of this case was content that he did recognize the woman despite the fact that her face was covered.
Judge Murphy rejected both suggestions saying that the fundamentals of justice would be tainted if the court was not able to ascertain, beyond reasonable doubt, identity of the woman.
Judge Murphy went on to say that whilst he has the utmost respect for anyone’s religious beliefs it is the job of the court and is of paramount need of justice to properly identify a defendant and therefore the rule of law must override any principle of religion in such instances.
The court case was adjourned due to the legal argument and is due to be heard again on September 12th this year in order to clarify the legal obligations and clarity of the law in this particular instance.
I personally agree with Judge Murphy for the rule of law in Britain must be equally upheld for all, regardless to race, colour, creed and indeed religion.
We cannot and should not allow any religious belief to overrule a principle of law and the very idea of not being able to look upon the defendant to determine proper identification is truly absurd and ludicrous.
It appears that once again Muslims are making a mockery of our justice system; maybe it is time we took the same stance as France and ignored European Human Rights legislation and banned the wearing of a Burkha altogether.
I personally see no benefit, religious or social, as to why anyone would feel the need to cover up their face other than the fact they do not want to be identified.
The issue is once again brought to light that we are so far indoctrinated into the ideology of political correctness that we able no longer able to rationalize basic right and wrong.
It was just three years ago that Tory MP, Philip Hollobone, initiated a private members bill that would make it illegal for anyone to cover their face in public. It was no surprise that the bill was abandoned after fear swept through the Houses of Parliament due to connotations of being labeled racists and bigots. The final argument of course was liberally sugar coated with the excuse that such a law ‘might’ be in breach of the Equality Act; it appeared nobody ever examined such a claim.
There is little doubt in my mind that British justice is being held to ransom by those who feel it is there right to subvert the course of justice due to their religious beliefs.
Do you think it’s time to change the laws and even take the same stand that France has taken regarding the wearing of the Burkha? Please leave your comments below.