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May 13, 2007

Push for blind, deaf people to sit on juries

From: ABC Online - Australia - May 13, 2007

The New South Wales Law Reform Commission has recommended that deaf and blind people be allowed to sit on juries.

A new report by the Commission says stenographers and interpreters should be allowed to assist deaf and blind jurors.

But the report also recommends that courts have the power to stand aside disabled jurors if they are unable to perform their duties.

Attorney General John Hatzistergos says the recommendations reflect a broadly-based justice system.

"Blind and deaf jurors are used in New Zealand and a number of States in the United States, so this is not a new phenomenon," he said.

"I believe that in our society, which does depend on the jury system of justice, it is important that we ensure that our juries are as broadly-based as possible."

"That means including people who are blind or deaf where they are able to fulfil the duties of a jury."

© 2007 ABC