Via Daily Mail:
A judge today condemned the 'enormous emotional pressure' exerted on women in Muslim communities after a rape case collapsed at the eleventh hour when the wife of an Asian man refused to give evidence against him.
The 35-year-old woman had accused her 34-year-old husband - a convicted sex offender - of raping her twice and was due to testify against him at a trial earlier this week.
But prosecutors were forced to offer no evidence and the case collapsed when the women suddenly decided to retract the allegations.
Judge Simon Newell said he was concerned ‘sections of the community’ were ‘exerting influences’ and ‘inhibiting the police’ from carrying out their duties. He implied justice was being interfered with by those close to the woman who wanted her to drop the charges.
Judge Newell said he hoped to set up a meeting with representatives of the Muslim community and would be discussing the collapse of the case with the most senior judge in the town.
The former Justice Secretary and Blackburn MP Jack Straw admitted there was a 'significant problem' within the Asian community with regards to rape and justice.
Burnley Crown Court
The rape trial at Burnley Crown Court (pictured) was abandoned. The husband had denied both charges
'In these cases, because they involve families, it is the families and community that wants to solve them,' he said. 'That itself is a significant problem.
'The law has been strengthened around these issues but there is much more that needs to be done between the courts, police and social services.'
Salim Mulla, chairman of the Lancashire Council of Mosques, agreed.
'The Asian community sometimes has a different way of working, trying to resolve the problems itself rather than leaving it to the police,' he said. 'But that doesn’t make it the right thing to do.
'The abuse of any child or woman is not permitted by Islam. We will continue to speak about this issue and try to raise it in the community to stop it happening.'
Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, Labour leader on Pendle Council, added: 'There is a small section who may think their cultural identity is higher than the law of the land, but it isn’t.'