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April 23, 2004

Trial of deaf man continued

From: The Journal - Westchester,NY,USA - Apr 23, 2004


(Original publication: April 23, 2004)

The court case of a deaf Peekskill man charged with misdemeanor child endangerment in what his lawyer called a misunderstanding was continued yesterday to May 27.

Edward Dariwala, 24, was walking home in February when he saw a girl crying, according to his attorney, Anthony J. Mamo Jr. Dariwala, who communicates in sign language, approached the girl to try to help, using his hands and voice in an attempt to communicate with her, Mamo said.

Dariwala can't tell how loudly he speaks, and the 14-year-old girl may have been frightened, prompting her to run away, Mamo said. One of her friends called police, and Dariwala was arrested the next day.

He was held by police overnight and denied the services of a certified sign-language interpreter, Mamo said.

Advocates for the disabled said his experience highlighted a common problem with the lack of interpreters.

Mamo said yesterday that the prosecutor's office, which had yet to fully review Dariwala's file, offered to let him plead guilty to harassment, but Mamo turned it down.

"We stand by our position that he did nothing wrong," he said.

Copyright 2004 The Journal News, a Gannett Co. Inc. newspaper serving Westchester, Rockland and Putnam Counties in New York.