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A judge and a defence lawyer clashed yesterday at the trial of a man charged with fraud in the so-called "burqa case".

At one point at the Auckland District Court, Judge Lindsay Moore told defence counsel Colin Amery: "Sit down, or I will put you somewhere else".

The Afghanistan-born Abdul Razamjoo, a 40-year-old produce manager, is charged with insurance fraud and making a false statement to police.

Mr Amery raised the issue of whether Razamjoo should be able to see the face of one of the prosecution witnesses, Razamjoo's sister, Feraiba Razamjoo, when she gave evidence.

But Judge Moore said Mr Amery was trying "to relitigate a lost cause".

The trial, starting yesterday, was preceded by an earlier hearing in which Ms Razamjoo and another Muslim woman sought to keep their faces veiled when giving evidence.

Mr Amery had opposed the request on the grounds the court would not be able to assess their demeanour.

Last month, Judge Moore ruled the women had to show their faces while giving evidence, but would be shielded from the public and the defendant.

The judge yesterday described the trial as a "relative simple" one. But he had since received from the defence 10 1/2 pages of "tirade unrelated to legal principles or facts of what has occurred".

"I am simply not going to hold this hearing up by indulging in a lengthy analysis of that."

Judge Moore said one complicating factor was that, while Razamjoo might have been accustomed to seeing his sister unveiled, he had married outside his faith, or the branch of his faith.

When Mr Amery said that wasn't a crime, the judge said: "For heaven's sake, Mr Amery, just listen to me and stop butting in. You might learn something."

He said the issue could be dealt with by asking Ms Razamjoo whether she was comfortable with her brother being able to see her face.

The trial is expected to take two days. A tinted glass screen has been set up around the witness box.

- NZPA