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Canada Supreme Court Rules On Niqab In Court Testimonies

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The court has ruled in favor of the plaintiff who wished to testify while wearing the niqab. I think this is the right decision and am glad to see the court was able to encompass the sensibilities of its multicultural constituency, including the Muslim community. Has anyone else followed this story in the news. I only heard about it today on the radio. It would be especially good to hear from anyone who has lived in Canada.

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If you read the article , you will notice that there is no ruling yet. It is still pending. She should not be allowed to keep her face covered. period. No exceptions.

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If you read the article , you will notice that there is no ruling yet. It is still pending. She should not be allowed to keep her face covered. period. No exceptions.

Ah, my mistake, you are correct. Of course, I disagree with you, since I don't think interpreting someone's facial expressions is of that great a significance, since any accomplished liar will lie with their face as much as with their words.

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If you read the article , you will notice that there is no ruling yet. It is still pending. She should not be allowed to keep her face covered. period. No exceptions.

I agree. There are obvious issues with confirming the identity of a witness who purposely chooses to conceal her identity.

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I agree. There are obvious issues with confirming the identity of a witness who purposely chooses to conceal her identity.

I am sure there are ways of confirming her identity without violating any religious obligations she might believe is required of her. I don't believe there is anything against removing the niqab in the presence of women only for instance.

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I am sure there are ways of confirming her identity without violating any religious obligations she might believe is required of her. I don't believe there is anything against removing the niqab in the presence of women only for instance.

It's not that simple. The accused has a right to know who his/her accuser is. Why does our (Western) justice system have an obligation to be subject to arbitrary, personal religious beliefs? It does not. What is being missed here are the inevitable logistical concerns. There would need to be an impartial, court appointed individual to confirm the identity of the woman who feels a need to conceal her identity. That individual is thus responsible for confirming the identity of the witness and could be held responsible for mistakes. Who pays the salary for this person? A minor traffic citation can cause you to spend several hours sitting in court. The person held responsible for confirming the identiy of a witness who conceals her identity must spend the same time in court as the witness. Who pays for that time? A criminal trial can last for months and require a witness to make several appearances. Who is responsible for paying someone to appear in court multiple times alongside a witness who chooses to conceal her identity?

 

Sorry, but we have a legal process whereby a witness needs to be identified so that both the prosecution and defense are assured of a fair trial and a just verdict. We are under no obligation to kowtow to the demands of religious traditions.

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It's not that simple. The accused has a right to know who his/her accuser is. Why does our (Western) justice system have an obligation to be subject to arbitrary, personal religious beliefs? It does not. What is being missed here are the inevitable logistical concerns. There would need to be an impartial, court appointed individual to confirm the identity of the woman who feels a need to conceal her identity. That individual is thus responsible for confirming the identity of the witness and could be held responsible for mistakes. Who pays the salary for this person? A minor traffic citation can cause you to spend several hours sitting in court. The person held responsible for confirming the identiy of a witness who conceals her identity must spend the same time in court as the witness. Who pays for that time? A criminal trial can last for months and require a witness to make several appearances. Who is responsible for paying someone to appear in court multiple times alongside a witness who chooses to conceal her identity?

 

Sorry, but we have a legal process whereby a witness needs to be identified so that both the prosecution and defense are assured of a fair trial and a just verdict. We are under no obligation to kowtow to the demands of religious traditions.

You act like the woman's identity wouldn't be known. If it was confirmed by legal authorities, then it would be known. The point of the niqab isn't to conceal identity but to meet a standard of modesty. You are already paying court officials, so it isn't as though there would be an additional expense. Besides, your system is already kowtowing to religious traditions, they just happen to be Christian rather than Muslim, otherwise why would your secular court system offer the Bible as part of the oath for a witness? Because Christians demanded it since they were unwilling to make such oaths to secular authorities.

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You act like the woman's identity wouldn't be known. If it was confirmed by legal authorities, then it would be known. The point of the niqab isn't to conceal identity but to meet a standard of modesty. You are already paying court officials, so it isn't as though there would be an additional expense. Besides, your system is already kowtowing to religious traditions, they just happen to be Christian rather than Muslim, otherwise why would your secular court system offer the Bible as part of the oath for a witness? Because Christians demanded it since they were unwilling to make such oaths to secular authorities.

You act like the woman’s identity would be known and that’s not the case. You don’t identify which legal authorities are to be tasked with confirming the woman’s identity. You don’t identify how that identification is to be done. You don’t identify how the additional expenses are to be paid for. You refuse to address the logistics regarding how someone who requires to conceal their identity can be a reliable witness in a criminal trial.

 

Your real issue seems to be a dislike of the secular court system and a dislike of Christianity. I’m actually perfectly comfortable with such a secular system as opposed to legal rulings being handed down by religious authorities. And, because you’re unaware of it, most courts do not use the Bible during swearing-in testimony.

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You act like the woman’s identity would be known and that’s not the case. You don’t identify which legal authorities are to be tasked with confirming the woman’s identity. You don’t identify how that identification is to be done. You don’t identify how the additional expenses are to be paid for. You refuse to address the logistics regarding how someone who requires to conceal their identity can be a reliable witness in a criminal trial.

Then why isn't the identity of the person the question facing the courts? Why is it instead a discussion hinging on the value of "demeanor" evidence? Has this blindingly obvious problem escaped the lawyers arguing the case or the judges presiding over it? Besides, if the defendant was blind, how would he know who she is? Answer that question and you will have answered your other question.

Your real issue seems to be a dislike of the secular court system and a dislike of Christianity. I’m actually perfectly comfortable with such a secular system as opposed to legal rulings being handed down by religious authorities. And, because you’re unaware of it, most courts do not use the Bible during swearing-in testimony.

Why would I dislike secular court systems? I am all in favor of a secular court system. And I have no animosity towards Christianity as well. It is the Canadian bar association website that told me that swearing on the Bible was an option for witnesses. Name one court that doesn't allow this. All I was doing was pointing out that this was an example of religious accommodation, and so there was precedence for it.

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Then why isn't the identity of the person the question facing the courts? Why is it instead a discussion hinging on the value of "demeanor" evidence? Has this blindingly obvious problem escaped the lawyers arguing the case or the judges presiding over it? Besides, if the defendant was blind, how would he know who she is? Answer that question and you will have answered your other question.
It seems that you’re now shifting the discussion to an entirely unrelated position. Firstly, “demeanor†evidence is valuable in a court of law to assess the credibility of a witness. Secondly, you can posit as many “what if†scenarios as you wish but that is not the issue in this case.

 

Why would I dislike secular court systems? I am all in favor of a secular court system. And I have no animosity towards Christianity as well. It is the Canadian bar association website that told me that swearing on the Bible was an option for witnesses. Name one court that doesn't allow this. All I was doing was pointing out that this was an example of religious accommodation, and so there was precedence for it.

Your hoped-for analogy doesn’t apply. Swearing an oath on the Bible has nothing to do with a witness in court who chooses to conceal her identity.

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It seems that you’re now shifting the discussion to an entirely unrelated position. Firstly, “demeanor” evidence is valuable in a court of law to assess the credibility of a witness. Secondly, you can posit as many “what if” scenarios as you wish but that is not the issue in this case.

No. Read any news report on the case. None of them mention the identity of the individual as a concern. All of them mention "demeanor" evidence. Why is that? Also, my "what if" scenario cuts right to the heart of your argument. If you are not worried about it, then answer the question and we will see if it is pertinent or not.

 

Your hoped-for analogy doesn’t apply. Swearing an oath on the Bible has nothing to do with a witness in court who chooses to conceal her identity.

It was not an analogy. It was an example of a secular court acquiescing to the religious sensibilities of its constituency, which is what this woman is requesting.

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No. Read any news report on the case. None of them mention the identity of the individual as a concern. All of them mention "demeanor" evidence. Why is that? Also, my "what if" scenario cuts right to the heart of your argument. If you are not worried about it, then answer the question and we will see if it is pertinent or not.

Yes, as I've explained, the demeanor of a witness is one way to establish credibility, or the lack thereof. Similary, the positive identification of a witness is crucial to the furtherance of a fair trial. Your "what if" scenario is designed only to side-step the particulars of this case.

 

It was not an analogy. It was an example of a secular court acquiescing to the religious sensibilities of its constituency, which is what this woman is requesting.

Here again, your hoped-for attempt at analogy fails. Swearing an oath on the Bible was never a legal requirement for someone who didn't believe in the particular religion connected to the Bible. No one is forced to swear an oath on the Bible if they choose not to. Your attempt at analogy thus fails. Secondly, swearing an oath on the Bible is not in response to direct testimony of a witness that could affect the outcome of a trial. There is no acquiescing performed. Thus, your analogy fails again.

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Yes, as I've explained, the demeanor of a witness is one way to establish credibility, or the lack thereof. Similary, the positive identification of a witness is crucial to the furtherance of a fair trial. Your "what if" scenario is designed only to side-step the particulars of this case.

Interesting. The only side-stepping I see is you around my question. And as you are probably also aware from the case, there are serious questions about the value of demeanor evidence.

 

Here again, your hoped-for attempt at analogy fails. Swearing an oath on the Bible was never a legal requirement for someone who didn't believe in the particular religion connected to the Bible. No one is forced to swear an oath on the Bible if they choose not to. Your attempt at analogy thus fails. Secondly, swearing an oath on the Bible is not in response to direct testimony of a witness that could affect the outcome of a trial. There is no acquiescing performed. Thus, your analogy fails again.

It was never my argument that swearing on the Bible was a legal requirement, just as it is not my argument that wearing a face veil is a legal requirement. I do not know why you are mentioning this. My point was that swearing on the Bible was available to anyone who wished to do so, despite the fact that the courts are secular. Why is this religious act available in a secular court if not as an accommodation to the religious sensibilities of those who would wish to avail themselves of it? And if we are accommodating religious sensibilities in a secular court, then the question becomes not if we can accommodate other religious sensibilities, but why not. You have so far failed to give an answer for why not. You have tried by claiming that the defendant needed to see the face of the witness, but you can't answer my question about the blind defendant, and you have not proven the value of demeanor evidence while there are examples of people being wrongly imprisoned on the basis of such evidence. I ask you again, just answer my one question about how a blind defendant would identify a witness. I promise that your ability to answer such a question will go along way towards resolving the issue.

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Interesting. The only side-stepping I see is you around my question. And as you are probably also aware from the case, there are serious questions about the value of demeanor evidence.

It was never my argument that swearing on the Bible was a legal requirement, just as it is not my argument that wearing a face veil is a legal requirement. I do not know why you are mentioning this. My point was that swearing on the Bible was available to anyone who wished to do so, despite the fact that the courts are secular. Why is this religious act available in a secular court if not as an accommodation to the religious sensibilities of those who would wish to avail themselves of it? And if we are accommodating religious sensibilities in a secular court, then the question becomes not if we can accommodate other religious sensibilities, but why not. You have so far failed to give an answer for why not. You have tried by claiming that the defendant needed to see the face of the witness, but you can't answer my question about the blind defendant, and you have not proven the value of demeanor evidence while there are examples of people being wrongly imprisoned on the basis of such evidence. I ask you again, just answer my one question about how a blind defendant would identify a witness. I promise that your ability to answer such a question will go along way towards resolving the issue.

 

 

 

It is not only the defendant (or their lawyer, in case of blindness) who needs to see the witnesses face, but the jury as well. Facial expressions are a huge part of human communication.

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You act like the woman's identity wouldn't be known. If it was confirmed by legal authorities, then it would be known. The point of the niqab isn't to conceal identity but to meet a standard of modesty. You are already paying court officials, so it isn't as though there would be an additional expense. Besides, your system is already kowtowing to religious traditions, they just happen to be Christian rather than Muslim, otherwise why would your secular court system offer the Bible as part of the oath for a witness? Because Christians demanded it since they were unwilling to make such oaths to secular authorities.

The niquab has a whole different meaning in our society. I don't want to insult you, so I won't go into it now.This is not kowtowing. The system and the society are built on Christian values. Maybe, just maybe, we want to keep it that way. Can you understand that?

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The niquab has a whole different meaning in our society. I don't want to insult you, so I won't go into it now.This is not kowtowing. The system and the society are built on Christian values. Maybe, just maybe, we want to keep it that way. Can you understand that?

Then don't pretend that your courts are secular and representative of the people they serve. It's a religious institution and is biased towards Christianity and Christian sentiments.

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It is not only the defendant (or their lawyer, in case of blindness) who needs to see the witnesses face, but the jury as well. Facial expressions are a huge part of human communication.

And can be easily misread, to the point where the wrong person is imprisoned. But I am more than happy to have a discussion on the value of demeanor evidence, which I think is the actual question before the Canadian supreme court, and not the identity of the witness.

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Then don't pretend that your courts are secular and representative of the people they serve. It's a religious institution and is biased towards Christianity and Christian sentiments.

False! Religion plays no part in court proceedings. To claim that the court system is a religious system and based upon Christian sentiments is to present an appalling lack of knowledge regarding the judicial system.

 

Please identify for us how the process of deposing a witness, jury selection, Grand jury proceedings, cross examination, material witnesses or a jury verdict have any connection to religious institutions or Christian sentiments.

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False! Religion plays no part in court proceedings. To claim that the court system is a religious system and based upon Christian sentiments is to present an appalling lack of knowledge regarding the judicial system.

Your argument isn't with me then. You might want to take that up with superstar though.

 

Please identify for us how the process of deposing a witness, jury selection, Grand jury proceedings, cross examination, material witnesses or a jury verdict have any connection to religious institutions or Christian sentiments.

But that isn't my claim other than the mutually acknowledged availability of using the Bible to take an oath on the witness stand.

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Your argument isn't with me then. You might want to take that up with superstar though.

Havr you forgotten that it wasd your claim that: "It's a religious institution and is biased towards Christianity and Christian sentiments".

 

 

But that isn't my claim other than the mutually acknowledged availability of using the Bible to take an oath on the witness stand.

...and the mutual acknowlegement that the Bible is not a requiremment to take the witness stand.

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Havr you forgotten that it wasd your claim that: "It's a religious institution and is biased towards Christianity and Christian sentiments".

Perhaps you should read what I was responding to. Its called context.

 

...and the mutual acknowlegement that the Bible is not a requiremment to take the witness stand.

I don't know if repeating that makes you feel better, but I have already acknowledged this fact multiple times.

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Perhaps you should read what I was responding to. Its called context.

I don't know if repeating that makes you feel better, but I have already acknowledged this fact multiple times.

In what context is the U.S. justice system a religious institution?

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In what context is the U.S. justice system a religious institution?

This thread isn't about the U.S. justice system. It is about the Canadian justice system. And the context was this post, which I quoted:

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?s=&showtopic=737469&view=findpost&p=1248470"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?s=&sh...t&p=1248470[/url]

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This thread isn't about the U.S. justice system. It is about the Canadian justice system. And the context was this post, which I quoted:

 

you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetgawaher(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/index.php?s=&sh...t&p=1248470

I suppose you're just confused then as it was you who posted: "...It's a religious institution [u.S. justice system] and is biased towards Christianity and Christian sentiments.

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I suppose you're just confused then as it was you who posted: "...It's a religious institution [u.S. justice system] and is biased towards Christianity and Christian sentiments.

And I have to suppose that you can't read, since I linked to the post I was responding to. My comment was conditioned upon superstars assertion. Since in truth I disagree with that assertion, it should not require too much thought to also understand that I do not believe the conditional statement either. And why in the world would you add a paranthetical [u.S. justice system] to my statement when the entire thread has been about Canada?

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