Man jailed for ripping off Muslim woman’s veil loses appeal

A man who was jailed for two years for ripping off a Muslim woman’s veil in Glasgow city centre has lost his appeal. William Baikie, 28, had claimed that the prison term he was given after admitting the assault at Glasgow Central Station was excessive. But judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh ruled that a sheriff was entitled to impose the punishment he selected.

Lord Osborne, who heard the appeal with Lord Reed, said Sheriff Lindsay Wood had described the crime as “appalling and deeply intrusive”. The senior judge said: “We are not of the view that that is an overstatement of the character of the offence. We consider that it would require little imagination on the part of anyone to foresee what the likely effect would be of committing an offence of this kind, particularly in the circumstances in which we live.”

Baikie, described as a prisoner in Glasgow’s Barlinnie jail, earlier pled guilty to forcibly tearing off Anwar Alqahtani’s hijab on April 27 this year in a racially aggravated assault at Hope Street.

The married 26-year-old victim, from Saudi Arabia, was studying for a masters degree in English after arriving in Scotland in January. She was entering Glasgow’s Central Station when Baikie came up beside her, seized the veil and tore it from her face before throwing it away. He then ran off. The victim’s hijab was torn and she had to use a piece of cloth to cover her face before catching her train and arriving home very upset.

STV, 19 November 2010