UK: Magistrate reprimanded over Muslim walk-out

A magistrate who refused to deal with a Muslim woman wearing a veil has been reprimanded.

Ian Murray walked out of court in Manchester when Zoobia Hussain, 32, appeared last June wearing a niqab covering her face apart from her eyes.

The jobless mother-of-five from Crumpsall was accused of causing ?1,500 worth of damage to her council house.

Later Mr Murray said he felt the way she was dressed raised identity issues.

Hussain’s lawyer, Judith Hawkins, said her client was “shocked and distressed” by the “insensitive and unacceptable” treatment.

She was a practising Muslim who covered herself in public places where men were present.

The Office of Judicial Complaints said Mr Murray had been formally reprimanded and ordered to receive further training.

The decision was rubber-stamped by the Lord Chancellor, Jack Straw, and the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips.

Hussain, who was later allowed to give evidence from behind a screen so men in the court could not see her, was convicted of causing criminal damage when her family was thrown out for rent arrears.

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Telegraph, UK
Jan. 9, 2008

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This post was last updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 12:09 PM, Central European Time (CET)