Australian judge: Woman cannot wear burka in court

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 19, 2010 11:39

A Muslim witness in an Australian fraud trial must remove her all-covering burka while giving evidence, a judge ruled Thursday.

Western Australia District Court Judge Shauna Deane said it would be inappropriate for the woman to testify with her face covered but didn't specify what the woman could wear. The judge said the woman's decision to wear the burka came down to "reasons of modesty" and a "personal preference" in her interpretation of Islam, rather than a religious requirement.

Defense attorneys argued the jury needs to be able to see the witness's facial expressions to assess what she says, while prosecutors said the woman's discomfort without the garment could affect her testimony.


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