New burqa, niqab ID laws unveiled in NSW

Muslim women will be required to remove face veils as part of new identity check laws in NSW.

From April 30, anyone who asks a justice of the peace (JP) or lawyer to witness statutory declarations or affidavits will have to remove all head coverings including motorcycle helmets and masks to prove who they are.

The change follows the case of Sydney mum of seven, Carnita Matthews, who was jailed in 2010 for falsely accusing a policeman of trying to remove her niqab during a traffic stop.

Her conviction was overturned on appeal after prosecutors failed to prove it was Ms Matthews who filed the complaint against the police officer - because the person was wearing a face veil.

It led politicians to try to clarify the law surrounding identity checks and head coverings.

NSW Attorney-General Greg Smith said JPs and lawyers will in future be required to see the face of anyone making statutory declarations or affidavits and to confirm their identity.

"In some situations it means individuals wearing full and partial face-covering garments will need to reveal their face for the purpose of identification," Mr Smith said in a statement on Monday.

"If a person is wearing a face covering, an authorised witness should politely and respectfully ask them to show their face."

The NSW government announced in August that police would get powers to force motorists to remove head coverings to confirm identity.

Drivers who refuse to do so face fines of up to $5500.

JPs and lawyers who fail to comply with the identity laws announced on Monday face fines of up to $220.

Source AAP

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