Insult to injury

Glasgow Sheriff Court reception

As one might expect in an establishment of the Justiciary, the reception desk at Glasgow Sheriff Court (above) is designed to keep restless punters at a safe distance. I found that it was also very effective at keeping the hard of hearing at a safe distance but, luckily, my ability to bend double over table tops in order to hear has grown prodigious over the years; in fact, I almost feel quite insecure if I can’t feel the edge of a table, desk or counter digging into my abdomen whilst attempting to conduct conversation in noisy surroundings.

The cheery man behind the desk should have noticed there was something unusual about the middle-aged woman on tiptoes, draped gymnastically over the brushed metal barrier surrounding his fortress, with her elbows balanced on the granite counter. Something in her intense gaze…

court transcript2

3 Responses to “Insult to injury”

  1. 1 Theda Bara September 29, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    I had to go to court 4 years ago, and despite the fact that I contacted them several times before the hearing to explain that I was very hard of hearing, the wrong type of loop was set up on the day. I’d explained in great detail that I was waiting for hearings aids and that without the correct hearing loop I would not be able to understand very much of what was said. The clerk was not knowledgeable about hearing loops and was unable to make it work. She basically just shrugged when I told her that there was no sound. The judge was totally unsympathetic and refused to adjourn and forced me to participate in the trial. He said that he would make sure to shout and that everyone else would do the same, but f course, they didn’t, and I became so confused during cross examination I said the wrong thing and everything went pear shaped. I panicked and decided to withdraw, and the judge ordered me to pay the other side legal costs of almost £40, 000. I have no money and now my home may be taken from me to pay the debt. And all because I couldn’t hear. It is absolutely scandalous the way deaf people are treated in court and it’s high time something was done about it.

    • 2 moiradancer September 29, 2015 at 5:41 pm

      That’s absolutely horrific to be treated in such a humiliating way during a trial and is a case study in how not to communicate with a deaf person. Asking everyone to shout during cross examination is beyond ridiculous.

      I hope that you are able to find someone qualified to help you make a suitable legal case against the obvious discrimination you have suffered, and that your financial situation is resolved soon.

      • 3 Theda Bara September 30, 2015 at 9:41 am

        Unfortunately, I was a litigant in person as I am unable to afford any legal help. There have been 4 hearings since, and each time, despite knowing of my needs, no audio loop was set up prior to the hearing and I literally had to argue with them before they would comply. One time I was told that ‘as it’s an adjournment, you don’t need to hear anything’, then the judge went on the speak with the other side’s legal representative to say why the hearing was adjourned, totally ignoring me, who as a LIP had more need than any to know what the situation was… it’s absolutely disgusting!
        There was definitely bias and discrimination from the judge, who refused to let me sit closer to counsel when I was struggling to understand cross examination questions. He also allowed the represented side to get away with all sorts of civil procedure rules. I am absolutely stunned, as I have never been in a courtroom before all this and I thought there was such a thing as justice.
        I am wondering about crowd funding to try and take this to the appeal courts. I am sure I am not the only deaf person who has been treated in this way.

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