Date: 20/04/2021
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'Get up. This is not a court of religion': Judge blasts Muslim convert who refuses to stand as he faces charges of promoting sharia law in Oxford Street

From the Daily Mail

Ricardo McFarlane, 30, allegedly breached an ASBO made in February 2014, which barred him from approaching members of the public 'in order to promote sharia law'.

McFarlane and a group of up to 20 other men are said to have set up a stall outside Topshop in Oxford Street on March 25 last year and called for strict Islamic laws to be imposed across the UK. . . He denies one count of breach of an ASBO and was due to stand trial at Southwark Crown Court today.

The bearded defendant, wearing a green and gold robe, told the court usher he would not stand for 'any man' before the hearing began.

Judge Martin Beddoe noticed that McFarlane, who is on conditional bail, did not stand up when he entered the courtroom. '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,' he said before a break in proceedings.

Roy Hedlam, defending, said: 'Because of his religious belief he believes there is only one person who he should bow to.'

Judge Beddoe continued: '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 stood up in the dock while Judge Beddoe was speaking, prompting him to say: 'He's very kindly standing up for me because I'm about to go.'

The defendant stood up in the dock during the rest of the hearing. His trial was adjourned until the week beginning 11 September because a witness was unable to attend court.


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