A fundraising initiative by Deaf Australia Inc to fight for the rights of Deaf and people with disability to serve as jurors in Australia.
$35,000 is needed!
All donations over $2 are tax deductible and will be deposited into the Equality Fund – a fund established by Deaf Australia to provide financial assistance for deaf or hard of hearing people for legal cases that will benefit the deaf community by removing systemic discrimination.
A call for CHANGE
People with disability called for jury service experience automatic exclusion when they inform the courts of their disability. Whether the person is deaf, blind, or has some other disability, they are excluded in the current interpretations of state and territory Jury Acts. Their competency is not assessed.
This must change.
On 25 July 2016, the High Court of Australia will hear Gaye Lyons’ case against the State of Queensland, which refused to provide Ms Lyons with access to Auslan (Australian Sign Language) interpreting to enable her to serve as a juror.
This Appeal calls for people to help fundraise to support Gaye Lyons’ legal team in presenting her case to the High Court of Australia and arguing that it is wrong to discriminate. If her case is successful it will pave the way to change the state and territory Jury Acts to allow people with disability to serve as a juror.
Pictured from left to right: Mark Patrick (DDLS NSW), Kyle Miers (CEO Deaf Australia), Ben Fogarty (Barrister), Ms Gaye Lyons, Ms. Kylie Nomchong (Barrister), Kathryn O’Brien (Porta Lawyers). Photo courtesy Kyle Miers.
For more information about this case:
Deaf woman sues government for her right to serve on a jury
Court decision discriminates against deaf people
Deaf Juror case goes to Canberra
A Human Rights Violation
In April 2016, the United Nations’ Human Rights Commission found that the Office of the Sheriff (NSW) violated the rights of two deaf persons, in similar cases, by preventing them from serving as a juror. One requested an Auslan interpreter and the other requested real-time captioning where words are transcribed into text.
“States that have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, as Australia has, are obliged to make reasonable accommodation to ensure people with disability can enjoy or exercise the same rights as everyone else and can take part fully in all aspects of life,” said Damjan Tatic, from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. “This did not happen in these cases.”
“Jury service is an important aspect of civic life. Persons with disabilities should be able to participate in the justice system, not only as claimant, victim or defendant, but also as jurors on an equal basis with everyone else,” Mr Tatic added.
‘It’s not about me [the court case], it’s been a constant battle and struggle that deaf people have had to endure, and fight for the smallest things in our quest for equality and access to everyday things that the general community take for granted.’
— Gaye Lyons
‘As someone who cannot sit on a jury I will not feel fully included in Australian society until I can fully carry out my responsibilities as an Australian. Just because I can’t see does not mean that I can’t take part in a jury process’
— Graeme Innes AM, former Disability Discrimination Commissioner
‘Being on a jury is something that all Australian citizens are expected to do. Deaf people are just as capable as non-deaf people to be jurors. It is, therefore, important that the law recognises the rights of deaf people to fulfil their civic duties’.
— Alastair McEwin