Judge in Robbery Case Orders Retrial After Key Witness, a Muslim, Swore Oath on a Bible February 28, 2015

Judge in Robbery Case Orders Retrial After Key Witness, a Muslim, Swore Oath on a Bible

Last August, Michael John Davies went to Victoria Kebab House near Liverpool, where he allegedly tried to rob the place with a hammer as his weapon. (He denies it.) There’s a trial underway to determine his guilt but they’re going to have to start over with a new jury due to a snafu that occurred after store manager Kerim Kurt, a witness, began giving testimony:

Recorder Patrick Thompson told the jury: “You will notice the witness isn’t in court. The difficulty that arose and I will be very straight about this, is you have heard evidence from the witness on oath, just like you all swore an oath.

“Unfortunately it was sworn on the Bible and he just informed us he is a Muslim, which means I can’t accept his evidence and neither can you, because it was sworn on the wrong holy book. We have to start the case again.”

Mr Recorder Thompson said if the trial restarted, it would not be expected to finish this week.

Discharging the jury, the judge added: “It is probably best a fresh jury who doesn’t think we’re all totally incompetent hears this case.

He swore to tell the truth on the wrong work of fiction, so they can’t guarantee that his testimony’s solid…?

Actually Kurt said he didn’t mind: He said he “respected all holy books and wanted to swear on the holy book of the country in which he was residing.” But when his faith came up during cross examination, the judge realized the mistake and ordered a retrial, a decision he now regrets (perhaps due to all the embarrassing publicity):

He said: “I took the view that Mr Kurt should have sworn on the Koran as a Muslim, however, in hindsight, it is a personal matter for any witness as to how they wish to be sworn.

“Having given the matter further thought, I should have accepted the evidence given by Mr Kurt and allowed the case to proceed and would not wish any criticism to be reflected on either the staff or Mr Kurt.”

It’s a silly practice to begin with, as George Carlin brilliantly noted:

The trial will restart at the end of April.

(Image via seanmundy on Flickr)

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