In some other countries deaf people are not excused from their duties service as a member of a jury. Interpreters and other means of providing language access mean that they can serve their country.
In Ireland, The long-awaited decision in the case of Deaf woman Joan Clarke case was â€¨given in the High Court on 14th July last. The case, taken by Free Legalâ€¨ Advice Centre (FLAC), was heard in the High Court over two years ago. Ms.â€¨ Clarke, who is Deaf, had been summonsed for jury service, and wanted to undertake this civic duty as an Irish citizen. She requested a reasonableâ€¨ accommodation in the form of a sign language interpreter in order to do so. â€¨However, she was excused from jury service because of her deafness.â€¨Ms. Clarke won part of her case in the High Court, when the court ruled that a County Registrar was not entitled to exclude Ms. Clarke from â€¨jury service. However, the judgment does not clear the way for deaf peopleâ€¨ to serve on a jury.
The judge, Mr Justice O'Keefe said the presence of a sign â€¨language interpreter in a jury room would breach confidentiality, which isâ€¨ an integral part of trial by jury. â€¨â€¨Very little has changed as a result of this decision, as it stated that Sign â€¨Language interpreters could not be present for jury deliberations.â€¨ Therefore, Deaf people will continue to be excluded from jury service.â€¨Michael Farrell, a solicitor with FLAC, said the decision made â€œan importantâ€¨dentâ€ in the ban on deaf jurors which was â€œoffensive and hurtfulâ€ to deafâ€¨ people and had â€œno place in a modern and inclusive societyâ€. He also said â€¨â€œIt was unfortunate the judge did not go on to accept that sign languageâ€¨interpreters could be used in a jury room without interfering with the jury,â€ he said.â€¨â€¨
SOURCE: http://www.flac.ie/download/pdf/2010_07_14_clarke_case_briefing_d etc ...
Some people say that Deaf people shouldn't be allowed to serve on a Jury because they might have literacy difficulties or cant rely on the quality of interpreters. What do you think of this?
If your case was dependent on the jury, would you have any objections to having a Deaf person as a juror?
It would be interesting to see what the general consensus is out there.