Muslim juror accused of wearing MP3 player under her hijab escapes punishment

A Muslim juror accused of listening to an MP3 player under her headscarf during a murder trial will face no further action.

Ruhela Khanom, 20, was serving on jury panel when she was accused of secretly listening to music during the trial of pensioner Alan Wicks, who was later jailed for life for bludgeoning his wife to death.

After repeated lateness and complaints that she was playing music when she should have been paying attention to the evidence, she was discharged from the trial at London’s Blackfriars Crown Court.

But yesterday the Attorney General’s office ruled that there was “insufficient” evidence to prove any alleged contempt of court.

Khanom was accused of contempt of court in July when 72-year-old Wicks was in the dock denying his wife’s murder.

Judge Chapple said at the time he had discharged Khanom because: “There was a complaint made by a fellow juror during the course of the luncheon adjournment.

“The juror had seen wires disappearing into the juror in question’s headscarf and heard her music emanating from that juror while we were in court and everyone else listening with close attention to important evidence of the defendant.”

“A member of the defence team had also noticed the wires. I said during the course of submissions I thought I heard the characteristic tinny sound of music from headphones fleetingly.”

Khanom, of Bow, east London, was also accused of persistent lateness, trying to excuse herself from serving and not concentrating when she sat on a jury in the murder trial in July.

A statement by the office of the Attorney General, Baroness Scotland, said: “The Attorney General has considered carefully the papers in this matter, in particular the witness statements, and has concluded that there is insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of proving beyond reasonable doubt any alleged contempt of court.”

Following widespread criticism of her behaviour, she hit out at the “grasser” among her fellow jurors who landed her in trouble.

She said: “I have one thing to say, that this is all a great misunderstanding.

“What the judge and the grasser did not see is that my MP3 was disconnected from the headphone and put it in my bag.

“The truth is because I have to take my head scarf off every time to plug and unplug the ear phones from my head therefore I simply disconnected my MP3 from my head phone. That is it.

“And as far as my religion is concerned, when it shouldn’t be, then I can say me wearing a head scarf shows my belief and my religion teaches me respect and I would not dare to go in a court room and listen to music, or when a man’s life decision is concerned.

“It would be disrespectful of me to listen to music as I’m part of that decision.

“And as far as the women grassing, she did what she felt was right.

“However, she sat in the other end of the line of seats so she cannot claim she saw my MP3 or heard me listening to music. She just saw my headphone and was not aware that the MP3 was disconnected.

“Why would I listen to the MP3 in the court room? I had no intention of contempting the court or any other reason. I was aware of the important role I have being there.”

Vacation? Short break? Day trip? Get Skip-the-line tickets at GetYourGuide.


(Listed if other than Religion News Blog, or if not shown above)

Religion News Blog posted this on Friday August 17, 2007.
Last updated if a date shows here:


More About This Subject


Our website includes affiliate links, which means we get a small commission -- at no additional cost to you -- for each qualifying purpose. For instance, as an Amazon Associate, Religion News Blog earns from qualifying purchases. That is one reason why we can provide this research service free of charge.

Speaking of which: One way in which you can support us — at no additional cost to you — is by shopping at