A Muslim convert accused of preaching sharia law outside Topshop was ordered to stand in court by a judge, who told him: “This is not a court of religion.”
Ricardo McFarlane is accused of breaching an ASBO given to him in February 2014 that banned him from approaching members of the public “in order to promote sharia law”.
The 30 year old is alleged to have set up a stall outside the flagship Topshop on Oxford Street, central London, on March 25 last year, along with 20 other men, to call for strict Islamic laws to be implemented in Britain.
Appearing at Southwark Crown Court, McFarlane told the usher he would not stand for “any man”.
However, Judge Martin Beddoe entered the court and noticed McFarlane had remained on his seat in the dock.
He told him to get up, adding: “This is not a court of religion.”
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He said: “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.”
Roy Hedlam, defending, said: “Because of his religious belief he believes there is only one person who he should bow to.”
But Judge Beddoe hit back: “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 eventually 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.”
He remained standing for the rest of the hearing.
McFarlane, from Walthamstow, London, denies one count of breach of an ASBO and his trial was adjourned until the week beginning 11 September due to a witness being unable to attend court.