Judge advised a man in his 80s who appeared in the St Thomas Circuit Court yesterday to answer charges of rape, indecent assault and carnal abuse, to improve his hearing as he was the one on trial.
The elderly man, Roy Edwards, stumbled his way into the dock after he had difficulty knowing his name had been called. It was evident that Justice Bertram Morrison was aware of hearing impediment as he questioned if arrangements had been put in place so that the accused man would be aware of what was happening.
The elderly man was accompanied by his wife, whom the justice asked. "How does he respond when you are speaking to him?"
"I don't know", the wife answered.
"Has he got any training in sign language?" "No."
The justice added that there was a problem as the accused had to hear what was happening, and suggested that he returns to court on July 29. The date was written down for the senior citizen to remember it.
Before the couple departed the court, the judge asked that arrangements be put in place by the defence counsel for the accused.
"The lawyer can come back and say what arrangement has been made so that he knows what is happening and whatever the accused can do to assist, he needs to do it," he said.
The judge asked the accused man's wife if any professional assistance had been sought to address the deafness. The wife said she had taken him to the hearing centre, but they couldn't afford the cost. To that the judge commented "... Something has to done as he (accused) will be on trial not me."
Edwards is accused of sexually molesting his step granddaughter in the 1980s when she was living with the couple. Edwards has reportedly denied the accusations and remains on bail.