Monday, 31 October 2016

Deaf People 'Incapable' of juror service...

You might have thought any ordinary person of sound mind can serve on a jury, but actually no. Various groups are excluded in many countries including the UK, Ireland and Australia because of legal prohibitions. 

In the UK and Ireland, for example, deaf people are deemed “incapable” of serving as jurors if they need an interpreter, since interpreters are not permitted in the jury room. Blind people, meanwhile, are usually excluded at the judge’s discretion because they can’t read the court materials.

The law for both groups is similar in Australia and was recently confirmed by a final appeal decision in the Australian High Court regarding a deaf woman named Gaye Lyons who needs an interpreter even though she can read lips. She took legal action after she had been excluded from serving on a jury in Queensland in 2012.

In a decision that will potentially influence courts in the UK and other jurisdictions, the court held that Ms Lyons had not been discriminated against. It said the problem was in fact a lack of legislative provision for deaf people and could therefore only be addressed by politicians.

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