Deaf person experiences mock trial as lay judge in Kagawa Prefecture

The new system of lay judges will start in May, 2009.

The mock trial was held in the Matsuyama District Court in Kagawa Prefecture, southern part of Japan, where a Deaf person served as the lay judge.

There were ideas that helped the Deaf person to easily understand what was going on at the court, such as three interpreters worked effectively in detail in the court.

A case was set up for the mock trial. The defendant who set fire to his own room to dispel resentment because he was requested by the apartment house owner to get out of the room, being accused of arson of inhabited structures.

The interpreters sat near the testimony stand so that the Deaf lay judge not only was able to see the interpreting but also observed all witness and defendant's expressions easily from the seat.

The Deaf lay judge was gazing into the trial while greatly nodding. The prosecutor read aloud slowly along with the pace of interpreting, sometimes displaying the written sentences or words in the monitor through the computer.

After the mock trial, the Deaf man said, "It was possible to participate in the discussion thanks to prior meeting though a lot of the technical terms used during the trial were unfamiliar to me".

Source in Japanese:

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