A Muslim witness may be required to remove her niqab veil to testify in court depending on the seriousness of the case and the sincerity of her religious beliefs, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled Thursday.

The decision means that a Toronto sexual assault trial that was halted during the preliminary inquiry stage will resume, now that the trial judge has instructions on how to assess the complainant's request to testify from behind her veil.

In its 4-3 decision, the court said there are times when even a significant religious belief must bow to other social and legal concerns.

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