District court refusing to make clear why not to select Deaf as lay judge

In the first lay judge trial at the Kochi District Court in the Kochi Prefecture, the court neglected arrangements of the interpreter for the Deaf woman who attended the lay judge's election procedure.

The district court did not clarify the reason for not electing her on January 26 when each media company requested the answer, as stating, "It is necessary to consider the candidate's privacy as a statutory board".

The regulations of the lay judge system states: the person disqualified as as lay judge has a remarkable obstacle in the accomplishment of the duty as the lay judge because of the mental or physical impairment.

The district court refuses the explanation whether this regulations were applied for the Deaf candidate, or the public prosecutor and the lawyer claimed to remove her, or she was leaked by lot. Also the district court said it was not possible to explain the ground for their answer.

It has been said that the interpreter was not arranged then though the district court noticed their mistake in the arrangement on that day of the election procedure. It might have been expected that the public trial would be delayed, too, if the Deaf woman were elected the lay judge.

The Kochi Prefecture Association of the Deaf said that they would have at once secured the interpreter at the request even if it were on that day. "The district court should clarify the reason why they deprived the Deaf of the legal right to participate in the trial".

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