High Court to decide if woman will be first deaf juror

AN Ipswich woman fighting to become Australia's first deaf juror through a High Court discrimination case will learn her fate today.

Gaye Lyons, who is profoundly deaf, took action after she was excluded from an Ipswich District Court jury in 2012.

Kylie Nomchong, representing Ms Lyons, told the High Court in July that a deaf person should not be deprived of their civic right to be a juror because they have a special need "in the form of a human being" to help them do that role.

She conceded her client was not capable of performing the juror role without an Auslan interpreter but argued it was discrimination not to make provisions for deaf people to participate in the trial process.

Ms Nomchong argued Ms Lyons should have been assessed on merit and capacity to decide a trial rather than a blanket ban on deaf people being involved in trials.

Walter Sofronoff, acting for the State of Queensland, said there was no option for an interpreter to swear an oath for their duty in court.

He also said it was not possible to monitor, test or challenge an Auslan interpreter's translations to a deaf juror.

The High Court will hand down its decision at 10.15am in Canberra.


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