Tuesday, July 27, 2004

TT: Om unveiled

The Muslim mother of a 12-year-old girl on guns, grenades, ammunition and drug possession charges was yesterday described as a "security risk" and prevented from entering the courtroom by the Magistrate yesterday because of the veil she wore to cover her face.

"Members of the court can see me. Why can't I see them," said Siparia First Court Magistrate Gillian David, in giving her reasons for banning Tammy McLeod.

But Leon Gokool, the attorney for McLeod's daughter, expressed anger over the decision. "My client's constitutional rights are being infringed," he told the court.

The hearing involving the girl and four co-accused was conducted with her mother standing outside the courtroom.
The previous day, the girl had appeared in the Princes Town Magistrates Court with her father Martin Noriega Bain, 34, and three Venezuelan women, Beatrice Rondon, 55, and her daughters, Erica, 30, and Adrianna Rondon, 18. On that occasion, the girl's mother, wearing her Muslim garb but without the veil, was allowed into court, along with another daughter, who wore a veil.
Magistrate David said in the circumstances involving the girl being charged with such serious offences, She could not allow McLeod in, because she presented a "security risk".
So, what game is the mother really playing? Why is she pushing the bounds? If her face was visible the day before, what's the deal with wearing the veil the next day? Why did she not remove the veil if she really wanted to stand at her daughter's side in court?

It's rather amusing that the kid, charged with all these serious offenses, is affecting a veil which is a mark of modesty. I guess modesty means different things to different people.


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