Judge 'wrong' to stop case after Muslim swears on Bible

Koran and Bible Judge Thompson said he "took the view that Mr Kurt should have sworn on the Koran as a Muslim"

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A judge who stopped a trial because a Muslim witness had sworn an oath on the Bible has said he should have accepted the man's evidence.

Recorder Patrick Thompson discharged a jury on Thursday after he discovered Kerim Kurt had sworn on the New Testament and not the Koran.

The attempted robbery case at Liverpool Crown Court will now be retried.

Scheduling a new trial, he said he "should have allowed the case to proceed".

Judge Thompson said he felt it was "important to correct a false impression I may have given when I discharged the jury in this case".

The mix-up occurred after Mr Kurt had taken "an oath to tell the truth which was sworn on the New Testament".

It later emerged in cross-examination that he was a Muslim.

"Mr Kurt had been asked by the court staff, prior to giving evidence, whether he was content to take the oath on the New Testament and he confirmed that he was," he said.

"This was because Mr Kurt had declared that he respected all holy books and wanted to swear on the holy book of the country in which he was residing."

Judge Thompson said he "took the view that Mr Kurt should have sworn on the Koran as a Muslim".

"However, in hindsight, it is a personal matter for any witness as to how they wish to be sworn and having been given the option, Mr Kurt chose to be sworn on the New Testament."

The date for the retrial was set for 27 April.

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