No-veils ruling for Victorian Supreme Court public gallery

July 18, 2018

The wife of an accused terrorist has been banned from wearing an Islamic veil, or niqab, in the public gallery of the Victorian Supreme Court, with a judge ruling spectators must have their faces uncovered.

Conservative Party leader Cory Bernardi has been calling for a ban on the burqa in public places since 2010 and is about to introduce a private members bill to ensure that face-coverings are banned from all buildings owned by the Commonwealth Government. 

The woman made an ­application to wear a niqab during the trial of her husband, who with two co-accused is charged with conspiring to plan a terrorist ­attack in Melbourne’s CBD last Christmas. He will stand trial next week.

Judge Christopher Beale previously prevented a woman in a burka from entering his court. “I require anybody who comes into the court, and all are welcome, but anybody who comes into the court, for their face to be uncovered,” he said in February.

Lawyers for the wife of the accused made an application to vary Justice Beale’s previous order, arguing it was oppressive.

In his judgment, Justice Beale ­rejected her application and ruled that people in the public gallery should have their faces uncovered in order to deter them from possible misbehaviour.

Last year, Senator Bernardi made reference to his first parliamentary mention of a burqa ban back in 2010.

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