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Judging the swearer

A trial in Liverpool for attempted robbery has collapsed because a Muslim witness had sworn on the Bible, not the Qu'ran. While giving evidence at Liverpool Crown Court, it emerged the victim of the robbery had taken an oath on the wrong holy book. A packed courtroom was cleared and the witness left the stand, before the judge said the trial could not proceed. 'You have heard evidence from the witness on oath, just like you all swore an oath,' the judge told the jury. 'Unfortunately it was sworn on the Bible and he just informed us he is a Muslim, which means I can't accept his evidence and neither can you, because it was sworn on the wrong holy book. We have to start the case again.' The next day, the judge changed his mind and stated in court that 'in hindsight, it is a personal matter for any witness as to how they wish to be sworn' but by then the trial had been stopped. Mr Kurt, who gave his evidence from behind a screen, was not given the option of which holy book he wanted to swear an oath on, and the judge acknowledged that it was not his fault. 'I took the view that Mr Kurt should have sworn on the Qu'ran as a Muslim, however, in hindsight, it is a personal matter for any witness as to how they wish to be sworn,' he said.