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Thursday, December 1, 2016

At last some common sense


A judge is refusing to hear evidence from a Muslim woman suing police over a terrorism raid on her house because the woman refused to take off her veil.

In what lawyers ­believe is an Australian first, NSW District Court judge Audrey Balla would not let Moutia Elzahed take the stand in the civil case while she wore her veil.

Ms Elzahed, one of two women married to convicted criminal and Islamic extremist Hamdi Alqudsi, still refused to take off her veil.

She is suing the state and federal governments over a search on her Revesby home in Australia’s largest counter-terrorism raids, Operation Appleby, on September 18, 2014. Ms Elzahed is seeking compensation for “assault and battery, wrongful arrest, false imprisonment and intimidation”. She is joined in the lawsuit by her husband Hamdi Alqudsi and her sons Hamza George, 17, and Abdulla George, 17.

Lawyer Clive Evatt told Judge Balla his client could not reveal her face to any man outside her family — for religious reasons. Judge Balla said Ms Elzahed could have the court closed while she gave evidence or she could go to another room and give evidence via video link.

Mr Evatt declined both options because the mostly male legal counsels for both sides would still be able to see his client’s face. Ms Elzahed also ­refused to stand for Judge Balla when the judicial officer entered and exited the court.

Thank you, Judge Balla! I hope other judges will follow your lead!