'This is not a court of religion': Judge orders Muslim man to stand in court
A Muslim man accused of preaching sharia law on the streets of London was ordered to stand in court after the defendant initially refused to stand for the court's judge.
Ricardo McFarlane was accused of breaking the terms of his Antisocial Behaviour Order (ASBO) after allegedly preaching shariah law on Oxford Street in London, according to the Metro. His ASBO barred him from addressing members of the public 'in order to promote sharia law'.
But before entering Southwark Crown Court for his hearing, McFarlane reportedly told an usher that though expected to rise when the judge entered the court, he would not stand for 'any man'. When Judge Martin Beddoe saw that McFarlane had refused to stand he told him told him to do so, telling McFarlane that 'this is not a court of religion'.
'If Mr McFarlane isn't going to treat this court with respect then I might have to deal with him differently than to release him on bail,' the judge said.
Representing the defendant, Roy Hedlam said: 'Because of his religious belief he believes there is only one person who he should bow to.'
Judge Beddoe responded: 'That is as may be, but this isn't a court of religion, this is a secular court and it expects to be treated with respect. That isn't in breach of any religious principles I'm aware of.'
McFarlane then arose in the dock where he had been seated, and remained standing for the rest of the hearing. McFarlane is accused, alongside as many as 20 other men, of calling for Islamic shariah law to be imposed across the UK, preaching outside Topshop on Oxford Street. He denied the charges.
When a witness was unable to attend, McFarlane's trial was adjourned and he was released on bail.