We live in an age of rights and freedoms, each carefully enshrined in law. But what happens when those rights conflict, as they often must? At Blackfriars Crown Court yesterday, Judge Peter Murphy was forced to rule on whether a Muslim woman who insists on wearing the niqab - the full facial veil - during her trial should be allowed to do so. In other words, does her right to freedom of religious expression trump the need for the basic operation of justice to take place, not least the court's ability to verify that the accused was indeed who she claimed to be?

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