Last week I was discussing jury service with a group of blind and partially sighted friends. One of the group said that they had been called up twice but each time turned away because they were blind. This is not an uncommon story and, if you’ll forgive the pun, it seems somewhat short-sighted.
Okay, so I get that a blind person will miss facial expressions and body language, but as there would be eleven other jurors, presumably with full sight, would this really be a problem?
What people don’t stop to think about is that a blind person does not form pre-conceived ideas about a person based on how they look, the colour of their skin, whether their clothes and hair are clean and tidy. Uncleanliness is not a desirable trait in a person, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are guilty of committing a crime!
You can also pick up a lot in someone’s tone of voice when they are speaking too.
I really don’t see that blind people can be turned away in all fairness, just because they are blind. After all, aren’t juries supposed to represent all of society?