The Supreme Court must decide whether women may keep their faces covered in court. Or rather whether Muslim women can, but other women can't.
A young Muslim woman in her thirties, known as N.S., claims that the psychological distress of testifying with her face uncovered against two male defendants, relatives she has accused of sexually assaulting her as a child, trumps the long-honoured right of the defendants' lawyers to see her expression under cross-examination.
The case went to the Ontario Court of Appeal in June of 2010. There, irony was heaped on irony in the presentations of two intervening groups whose perspectives sum up the conflict – the ideology of multiculturalism versus the sacred tenets of democracy – that sits at the heart of this case.