Mistrial declared after key Muslim witness swears oath on Bible

Reuters/Jacques Boissinot
A robbery case at Liverpool Crown Court was declared a mistrial after the main Muslim witness swore an oath on the Bible instead of the Quran.

Michael Davies, 38, was accused of attempted robbery in Birkenhead, a town close to Liverpool. He was allegedly trying to rob a kebab shop armed with a hammer last summer. He denied the allegations.

During the hearing, the takeaway restaurant manager, Kerim Kurt, was reportedly asked whether he had ever purchased stolen goods from Davies. He replied it would be “against my religion,” the Daily Mail reported.

“Are you a Christian?” John Weate, defending, proceeded.

“No, I'm a Muslim,” Kurt said.

The judge said the trial could not go on and discharged the jury.

“Unfortunately, [evidence from the witness on oath] 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,” Recorder Patrick Thompson said, adding that "it is probably best a fresh jury who doesn't think we're all totally incompetent hears this case.”

The attempted robbery case is now set to be retried.

Followers of different faiths are given copies of their holy books, with Muslims swearing on the Quran, Jews on the Old Testament, while atheists can simply “affirm” instead of swearing.