Sitting in Blackfriars Crown Court in south London, I watched a very modern, multicultural dilemma.

Back in August, a Muslim woman was due to appear, accused of intimidating a witness. The woman, whom the BBC isn't naming for legal reasons, was expected to enter a plea.

But Judge Peter Murphy said he could not hear that plea because he could not identify her: she was wearing a niqab, the type of black face covering worn by some Muslim women that only leaves their eyes visible.

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