03rd July 2014

Solicitors for the deaf

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The filming of a recent rape trial where the complainant, defendant and all witnesses were deaf is a significant step forward in the treatment of the Deaf Community by the justice system. The filming meant that if there were later any issues over what had been communicated in sign language it would be possible to resolve them by looking at the film. Previous applications to allow filming had been refused, so the decision by His Honour Judge Wilkinson is particularly timely.
Andy Cash, Director at national Law Firm Cartwright King said “The Deaf person has often been disadvantaged in the judicial system because of a lack of education about signed communication and a dire shortage of suitably qualified sign language interpreters. Communicating abstract expressions to someone who has never been able to hear is particularly difficult but should not imply that the matters cannot be understood. Police interviews with Deaf witnesses and defendants are now videoed to avoid any problems and the extension of filming to courts is to be welcomed”. 

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