Published December 20, 2012
TORONTO – The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in a split decision that a witness can wear a religious veil that covers the face while testifying in court in certain circumstances. The landmark case pitted religious freedom against an accused person's right to a fair trial.
Thursday's decision involved a Muslim woman who sought to wear a veil known as a niqab while testifying against two men she claims sexually assaulted her when she was a child.
The woman said her religious beliefs dictate that she wears the veil in public or in the presence of men who aren't "direct" members of her family.
The two accused claimed that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms allowed them to confront their accuser and observe her facial expressions as she testifies.