Deaf People's right to Irish Sign Language Access in the Judicial System.
On Wednesday 18th May 2016, Judge Paul Kelly at a sitting in Falcarragh District Court which took place in Letterkenny, Donegal did not allow a Deaf man (the defendant) who uses Irish Sign Language have a fair trial.
No Irish Sign Language interpreter could be available at the court and the Deaf man's solicitor informed the judge of this and said his client could not give evidence without an interpreter.
However, Judge Kelly allowed the complainant to give evidence in court against the Deaf man without an ISL interpreter present at the time. Judge Kelly then proceeded to make a decision to BAN the Deaf man from his home county and said that he will put the Deaf man in custody if he returns to Donegal. (Reference: Donegal Daily Online, 19th May)
Under Article 40.1 of the Irish Constitution citizens are afforded the right to be equal before the law, having due due regard to differences of capacity, physical and moral, and of social function Under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), Article 5.2 guarantees the right to liberty and security stating that “everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and of any charge against him”. Article 6.3 guarantees the right to a fair trial so that “everyone charged with a criminal offence has the following minimum rights: (a) to be informed promptly, in a language which he understands and in detail, of the nature and cause of the accusation against him; … (e) to have the free assistance of an interpreter if he cannot understand or speak the language used in court.
Article 14 of the ECHR outlines a prohibition on discrimination stating that “the enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this Convention shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status”. Article 21 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights states that “any discrimination based on any ground such as sex, race, colour, ethnic or social origin, genetic features, language, religion or belief, political or any other opinion, membership of a national minority, property, birth, disability, age or sexual orientation shall be prohibited”.
By signing this petition, I wholeheartedly object the breaches of the articles set above by the aforementioned Judge and demand recognition of the Defendant's human rights.