Monday, May 14, 2012

First Blind Judge in Korea shows how blind persons can function as Judge successfully

Dear Colleagues,

A very good news coming in from Korea. We have a Blind Judge Mr. Choi Young, who held the court first time with his screen reading software on the lap top. And the attendees in the court were spell bound! 

I have been working hard to see our blind brethren in the judiciary in Delhi. However, despite five posts specially reserved for the Blind in the judicial examinations held in past few years, we have seen no success.  I am requesting the Delhi High Court to organize special coaching to blind law graduates and practicing blind lawyers this year so that we can put up an example to the country. Its not that we have no blind judges in the country, but we have none in Delhi so far.

Please refer to my earlier posts "Can a blind person work as a judge?" and subsequently  "Want to become a judge? " and "A step further to ensure that Blind can function effectively in Courts" on this subject. 

Here is the wonderful news from Korea. 

SEOUL: Judge Choi Young focused on the sounds from his laptop computer at the court as he strives to grasp the case he undertook.

A text-to-speech software in the computer helped blind judge with the trial. While attendees were nervous and astonished to see how dexterously he dealt with the case, he remained calm and confident.
Korean blind judge, Choi Young, adjusts an earpiece as he presides over his first public ruling for a civil case at the Seoul Northern District Court in Dobong District (Photo credit: Korea Joongang Daily)
Korean blind judge, Choi Young, adjusts an earpiece 
as he presides over his first public ruling for a civil 
case at the Seoul Northern District Court 
in Dobong District 
(Photo credit: Korea Joongang Daily)

Choi, the Korea’s first blind judge, had his first open trial on Friday. 

Choi is one of the 86 new judges appointed in February and works as an associate judge at the Seoul Northern District Court.

The 32-year-old judge had five trials on Friday. He entered the court room at 10:00 a.m., supported by his fellow judge. He found his seat with the help of other staff. Unlike other judges, there was a laptop computer at his seat.

The court said it had installed a text-to-speech software and provided the necessary equipment, including the laptop, to assist  judge.   “He translates all the documents into audio files and put it in a USB flash drive before trials,” an official from the court said.

During the open trial on Friday, Choi seemed calm and looked no different from other judges besides he had an in-ear earphone. He also typed something on his laptop from time to time.
Observers were impressed how he could look for all the necessary files and document during the trial.

“Choi can memorize all the documents by listening to the audio files just one or two times,” a spokesman of the Seoul Northern District Court said.

Choi noted Friday that he hopes he can bring a new change in Korean society. “There was a big change after the country appointed its first woman judge. I hope I can make the same effect as the country’s first blind judge,” he said.

The 32-year-old was not born vision disability, but started to lose his vision from 1998 due to illness. He lost his vision completely in 2005 while at Seoul National University. He needed extra effort to prepare for the judicial examination due to his disability.

Despite his five consecutive failures, Choi did not give up and passed the judicial examination in 2008.

He completed a two-year program at the Judicial Research and Training Institute in earlier this year to become the country’s first ever blind judge.

Source: Asia online 

No comments: