TORONTO — A Muslim woman will be in the Ontario Court of Appeal today to fight for her right to wear her niqab while testifying at trial.
The case, which will be heard by a three-judge panel over two days, is pitting religious freedom against the right to a fair trial under Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Two men are charged with sexually assaulting the woman, identified only as N.S., when she was a child.
Their lawyers argue that the ability to confront an accuser during cross-examination is critical to their right to defend their clients.
But Susan Chapman and Joanna Birenbaum, lawyers for the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, say forcing N.S. to remove her niqab is a form of public undressing.
A niqab is a Muslim face covering that reveals only the eyes.