Wednesday, February 1, 2012

"Hearing-impaired man picked as citizen judge"

From The Mainichi Daily News, 1/31/12:

A man with impaired hearing has been picked as a citizen judge in a trial of a robbery case that started at the Maebashi District Court on Monday.

It appears to be the first time someone with a hearing impairment has joined a lay judge trial since the system was launched in 2009.

The district court has sought the help of four sign language interpreters for the man, who was picked from 29 lay judge candidates.

The defendant is a man accused of attacking a businessman in Isesaki, Gunma Prefecture, stealing his wallet and injuring him in 2005. The defendant was a minor at the time of the crime.

The law disbars from citizen judge service only those with serious physical or mental handicaps that would make it impossible for them to perform their duties.

When a woman with impaired sight was picked as a citizen judge at the Utsunomiya District Court in 2010, prosecutors and defense lawyers submitted documents in Braille for her.