Niqab-wearing accuser vs. defendant rights: When Charter freedoms clash
Saturday 31 December 2011, by
The tone of the Supreme Court of Canada on Thursday was tense as Justice Morris Fish asked lawyer David Butt to name one lawyer who’d willingly cross-examine a veiled witness.
Butt replied "some blind lawyers that I know" which was met with an impatient "Well, how about seeing lawyers — your response quite explicitly and dramatically answers the question." The question before the Court was whether a witness testifying while wearing the niqab — a veil which covers the face with only the eyes showing — would undermine the fairness of a trial.