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Canada's top court rejects blanket rule on niqabs in court
by Allison Martell
Canadian judges should decide on a case-by-case basis whether women can wear the niqab, a full-face veil, while testifying in court, but a blanket rule on the issue would be "untenable," Canada's top court said on Thursday.
The decision, supported by four of the seven judges who heard the case at the Supreme Court of Canada, said lower courts must consider, among other things, the harm that could come if Muslim women who wear the niqab feel discouraged from reporting offenses.
But the ruling also said that where a witness's credibility is central to the case, "the possibility of wrongful conviction must weigh heavily in the balance." Judges must also consider the sincerity of a witness's religious beliefs.
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