Judge Removes Woman In Burqa From Court

Lena M with news of a Melbourne judge banning the niqab in court.

Photo Credits: Guardian Liberty Voice

Justice Beale made a precedent because he did not allow a woman with a niqab to enter the Victorian Supreme Court. It is the first known case of a burka-wearer being refused entry. 'I require anybody who comes into the court — and all are welcome — but anybody who comes into the court, for their face to be uncovered,' Justice Beale said. The niqab, unlike the burqa, covers the head and face but leaves the eyes open.

The wife of an accused terrorist, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was ordered by Justice Christopher Beale this week to remove her niqab and show her face while attending her husband's trial. She refused to remove her veil and chose to sit outside the courtroom, according to Herald Sun. The woman may challenge the judge’s ruling at future hearings of her husband’s trial because the defendant’s lawyer indicated she would seek exemptions from the burka ban on religious grounds going forward.

The Supreme Court’s website says visitors to the court must “dress appropriately” with hats and sunglasses banned. There is no rule about traditional Muslim veils. A court spokesman told The Herald Sun that judges ultimately make the decision about who is allowed in their courtroom. The Victorian Supreme Court said in statement: "Each individual judge is empowered to give directions on a case-by-case basis on who can enter the courtroom."

Islamic Council of Victoria vice president Adel Salman slammed the ban by Justice Beale, saying it's a violation of the woman's human rights. He added:

I think the judge's decision is unreasonable and concerning. Women choose to wear it. It’s part of their faithfulness to God. To ask them to remove it is quite intrusive and, in some cases, quite traumatic.

Mr. Salman also said that if there is concern about security in court or “if there's any doubt about someone's identity, a woman can be asked to step into a room privately with a female security person, remove her niqab, verify their identity.”

The accused terrorist's supporters refused to follow court protocols last year and wouldn't stand when a magistrate entered the courtroom, according to the Herald Sun. The Victorian opposition last year proposed a law to slap women who refuse to show their face in court with a two-week jail term or a $1,500 fine.

Whether the Justice Beale exceeded the limits of its powers, it remains to be seen, because the woman may challenge the burqa ban at the next trial.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

1 comment to ''Judge Removes Woman In Burqa From Court "

  1. The surveillance state vs Islamic exceptionalism should make for good viewing. It’s just a shame In this instance they both can’t lose.


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