Court to decide if woman can testify wearing niqab in sexual assault case

Globe and Mail

The Supreme Court of Canada will attempt to balance Islamic beliefs against the bedrock elements of a fair trial on Thursday in major clash of constitutional rights.

At the centre of the case is a sexual assault complainant known as N.S., who does not want to testify against two men accused of raping her unless her face is obscured by a religious veil, or niqab.

The defendants assert that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees them the right to confront their accuser and observe her facial nuances as she testifies.

However, lawyers for N.S. say facial expressions are frequently misleading and that Islamic rape victims will be reluctant to go to police if they may later be ritually “stripped” in a courtroom.

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