Muslim Woman Carnita Matthews Escapes Jail by Remaining Behind Her Burqa

Janet Fife-Yeomans and Paul Kent, Daily Telegraph (Sydney), June 21, 2011

The woman at the centre of the burqa row, Carnita Matthews, has a long record of driving offences and a history of not paying her fines.

Court documents have revealed that she had been fined seven times for traffic infringements before she was stopped by police in June last year for not displaying her P-plates in the incident that sparked the row that spilled over to the District Court yesterday.

Since she first received her learner licence in 1998 at the age of 33, she has twice had her provisional licence suspended for totting up too many demerit points and twice had her licence suspended for non payment of fines.The State Debt Recovery Office had to recover the fines. Both of those two suspensions for non payment of fines were later lifted.

It is not known how many times she was physically stopped by police and whether she had her face covered by a burqa or a niqab on those occasions. A number of times she was caught on camera speeding and disobeying traffic lights.

After being stopped by police last year for not displaying her P-plates, Ms Matthews was ordered to pay $276 in fines and court costs.

She claimed on Channel Seven and allegedly in a statutory declaration to Campbelltown police that the officer who stopped her had attempted to tear the burqa off her face, a claim that was proven untrue by the police patrol car video camera.

A magistrate last year found her guilty of making a deliberately false statement and sentenced her to jail for six months. Ms Matthews appealed, saying there was no proof she was the person in the burqa making the atatement and Judge Clive Jeffreys in the District Court yesterday upheld her appeal.

The news comes as women wearing a burqa may be ordered to remove it to identify themselves in the wake of the Carnita Matthews case.

Police Minister Mike Gallacher has revealed that police do not currently have the legal power to require women to show their face if the women refuse on religious or cultural grounds.

He said he wanted the law tightened up.

“Police powers in relation to face coverings are not clear,” Mr Gallacher said.

“It’s time to address that.”

He said he had spoken to rank and file police who wanted the situation clarified.

Any decision on whether to appeal the controversial judgment by Judge Clive Jeffreys would not be made until after the judge hands down the reason for his decision which is expected tomorrow.

The government is also considering passing new laws requiring people who make complaints against police, or in the case of witnesses giving evidence, to have to provide at least one fingerprint and their signature.

This follows the finding by the judge that he could not be certain that it was Ms Matthews who made the statutory declaration complaining about the officer who stopped her car because the person who handed the document in to the police station wore a burqa.

Mr Gallacher said he was waiting until Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione returned next week to discuss exactly what needed to be done.

He said he did not expect this to inflame community anger about women wearing full face coverings.

He said he had been told that there was nothing in Muslim culture or religion that stopped women from identifiying themselves in certain circumstances.

Yesterday, Ms Matthews avoided jail because her identity could not be proven.

Ms Matthews, 47, from Woodbine, in Sydney’s southwest, had been sentenced to six months in jail for making a deliberately false statement that a policeman tried to forcibly remove her burqa because he was a racist.

But judge Clive Jeffreys said yesterday he was not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that it was Mrs Matthews who made the racism accusation because the person who complained to police was wearing a burqa at the time.

The absurdity of the law is that, to reach the level of proof of identity to make the case, Mrs Matthews would have been required to identify herself by lifting her burqa at the police station–what started the uproar in the first place.

More than a dozen Muslim supporters linked arms and began chanting “Allah Akbar” as they stormed out of Downing Centre Court with Mrs Matthews concealed behind them.

Tempers rose and they began jostling with police after several members of the group attacked cameramen.

It marked a stark difference from their behaviour minutes earlier, when they had quietly assembled outside the lifts for prayer shortly after the judge’s decision.

Mrs Matthew’s lawyer Stephen Hopper defended their actions saying: “They are obviously happy with the result and are expressing it in a way that is culturally appropriate to them.”

Judge Jeffreys said yesterday that even if Mrs Matthews had made the complaint, he could not be sure she knew it was a “false” statement.

“I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that she made the complaint,” he said.

“Even if I was satisfied that she made the complaint, I am not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that it was knowingly false.”

Mrs Matthews made the claim in her court appearance last year, saying police could not prove it was her behind the burqa when the complaint was handed in to police. The local magistrate rejected it.

The case had lit up the religious debate when a magistrate found Mrs Matthews had deliberately made false complaints that Sergeant Paul Kearney was racist and had attempted to tear her burqa off her face when she declined to remove it on request.

She was pulled over for a random breath test last June, and accused Sgt Kearney of racism only after he booked her for failing to properly display her P-plates.

The incident was captured on a patrol car video camera and helped clear Sgt Kearney, prompting calls for all police cars to carry in-built cameras to avoid false claims.

“I’ve got my P-plates on my car . . . there was nothing wrong with how they were displayed,” Mrs Matthews says on the video.

“You look at me and see me wearing this and you couldn’t handle it. All cops are racist.”

She then threatens, “100 per cent”, that she will take the matter to court and fight the charge.

France was the first country in Europe to implement a full ban on covering up faces in public.

France’s burqa ban descended into farce when the first women to be summoned before a European court for illegally wearing the garments were refused entry, because they would not remove their face coverings.

Carnita Matthews.jpg

Carnita Matthews after being pulled over for a traffic violation.

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  • Anonymous

    We should not allow “racism” to be punishable anymore! It only exists in the accusers anyway, and is used as a weapon. We must take away that power.

  • Anonymous

    A Muslem woman named “Carnita”? Which is a Mexican pork dish, ironic.

  • she said

    “All cops are racist” is a bigoted comment, indicative of bias against policemen, Whites, and possibly non-muslims.

    Ask her “What race is muslim?”. Then she can’t use it as a weapon. I am glad the police officer had a camera. It may be worth studying camera technology in preperation for the day that video evidence against non-whites is declared “ray$iss”.

  • Mike Harrigan

    Having these kind of people filling western nations, kinda gives you an all over warm fuzzy feeling does it not?? Of course I could be mistaking this feeling for extreme nausea. Remember, diversity is our strength.

  • Comment from Australia

    Several Comments in fact:

    The name Matthews, strange name for a fully vieled Muslim! She also speaks with a broad Australian accent.

    Long history of not paying traffic fines. This seems to be normal among the Muslim community here in Sydney, they simply refuse to acknowledge Austrlaian law.

    About two thirds down this article: “There were about 2 dozen Muslems shouting “Allah Akba…” I can let Amren readers know that they all looked VERY angry, They were all dressed in full Islamic robes and they all looked like they were quite ready to take on the NSW authorities at a moments notice had the judgement gone the wrong way! The general feeling about this case here is that the judge wanted to be very PC and/or avoid another Islamic riot in Sydney.

    When will the powers that be realise that Islam is a foriegn culture that is refusing to adapt to the Australian way of life or its laws and is quite simply is NOT wanted here?

  • Anon

    The officer (and court) have right to know who they’re dealing with. For all the cop knows, that could be a man with a concealed weapon under the burqa.

  • Jeddermann.

    In most locales in the U.S., it is against the law to wear a mask in public, unless it is part of a gala event. I would assume the same is true in Aussie land. Carnita put everyone at risk by leaving the vehicle too. That is not normal procedure in the U.S. either. A thousand times this has to be said: “how do you know the person under that shroud is a woman and does not have a weapon??” You don’t.

  • Cogitator

    I believe that in the future our problems will not be mostly with blacks or Hispanics, but rather it will be moslems. That is not to say there will not be problems with blacks and Hispanics, but it is to say that the most disruptive and dangerous group will be moslems.

  • Sylvie

    The comedy that’s not even funny.

    What a complete farse!

  • tom

    She should have been taken to a police cell and detained until she removed her facial covering. Then charged, then prosecuted. There is only so much errant children and slow adults can learn for themselves- the rest of the time they must be taught. As Pim Fortuyn said- “I have travelled much in the world. And wherever Islam rules, it’s just terrible. All the hypocrisy…”

  • cpascal

    Muslim countries which require women to cover their faces have their own way of avoiding this type of situation. They simply don’t let women drive. But I suppose it would be racist for Western countries not to let women who wear face coverings drive.

  • Anonymous

    Outside of Muslim countries that would require a burqa-clad woman to always travel outside with a man, burqas are dangerous for society because they allow women to rob at gunpoint/knifepoint or commit other crimes without anyone being able to identify the female perpetrator.

    Just as some stores require removal of a ski mask prior to entering, a safely-run Western society needs to see the faces of those walking about. Those who claim to come from religions or cultures the require covering of their face should not be allowed in Western countries.

    Societies that allow women to wear burqas risk eroding important freedoms for Western women, because once you allow women to go out masked the next argument would be to require them to always have to travel with a family member, so should crimes occur you can identify the woman by the man she is with.

  • BJohnson

    Stories like these, have made white countries and white people, to be the laughing-stock of the world. A Muslim woman made a false charge of racism against a white police officer. That is a very serious charge. When the charge was proven to be false by camera evidence, she should have been charged with a criminal offense. But was let go because she was wearing a burkha, which supposedly cast doubt as to whether she was the one who made the false accusation, against a police officer. For all their so-called intelligence, as measured in so-called IQ tests, the white people of today are remarkably stupid.

    The white people of the 19th Century and earlier, may not have done well in the IQ tests of today, and they lived in houses without indoor plumbing. But they had much more common sense than the whites of today. Such a court case would not have appeared in a white nation in the 19th century, because whites did not allow people who wear burkhas into their countries. From the year 700 AD to 1900 AD, the white Christian peoples of the West saw Muslims as their racial enemies, and did not permit them to enter their countries. The only Muslims to be seen in Western nations were the Ottoman Turk ambassadors. In those days, white people were respected and held in high regard by the non-European world, because whites were viewed as a serious and no-nonsense people.

    Today, despite the claims that they have higher IQs than the older white people of the past, the whites of today are seen as idiots by the non-white world. I am sure that this Burkha woman and her fellow Muslim supporters, had a good laugh at the expense of the stupid whites, once they were out of the hearing range of the reporters covering the case.

  • Anonymous

    Hear! Hear! BJohnson!

    Well said! The west’s reluctance to defend itself is utterly inconceivable when compared with even its recent past. Our national governments in the west have given away the bounty that has been stored up for over a millennium in the span of a few decades. Don’t think for a second either that the rest of the world caught up with us on it’s own merits. No, much like the tortoise and the hare, we have fallen asleep behind the tree of diversity, multiculturalism, feel-goodism, and tolerance and have only begun to awake to see the tortoise cresting the hill in front of us. Actually that is much too kind a comparison. Our western governments have actually helped the competition!

  • B J Deller

    Surely Australia has laws where driving in a manner likely to cause an accident, and in Spain this includes driving in flip-flops or beach sandals, bare feet or without the correct glasses being worn if needed, etc, and the driver can be stopped on the road and the vehicle impounded if the infraction cannot be corrected on the spot. Surely driving with the head covered with a small slit for the eyes is very dangerous and we are all waiting to see what reason the Saudi Arabian authorities are going to give for disallowing women there who all must be covered up with a niqab etc. If it is due to the covering, they have a problem because that is a precedent for the World to copy for road safety’s sake.

    Are there any knowledgeable Australian readers who know the laws on driving dressed fit to drive in safety?

    In future the best way to stop this woman from flaunting the laws and road safety standards is to take her to a cell and leave her there until she removes her “disguise” even in the presence of her husband or iman (religious leader). And take her finger-prints as well as a naked(face) mug shot as well. After all surely her driving licence has a proper photo?

    To enforce the laws here is not racist as Islam is not a race: it is a medieval system of controlling masses of medieval brainwashed people.

  • Anonymous

    13 — BJohnson wrote at 9:22 AM on June 22:

    “Stories like these, have made white countries and white people, to be the laughing-stock of the world. A Muslim woman made a false charge of racism against a white police officer. That is a very serious charge…. ”

    Part of the larger problem is allowing the charge of “racism” to be a serious charge. Racism has always existed and it always will. It is a situation best left to social remedy, rather than punitive statue by any government. If I call someone a name, they can choose whether to associate with me further, or punch me in the nose. Bureaucratically choosing who is racist and who isn’t is purely political and dangerous to any free society.

    We must divest hot terms like “racism” and “racist.”

  • Alverez

    The funny thing about this story to me is the word/name CARNITA in Spanish is PORK cooked a certain way.

    Don’t MUSLIMS know this?

    I hope they don’t make us Hispanics stop using the word because it insults them?