Being deaf shortens thief’s jail term

I got this fairly old news article (April 2009) from GMA News Website about a deaf accused of stealing a laptop in January 2007. She cannot hear nor speak. She also doesn’t know any sign language.

It seems that the judge is in a quandary as to how to deal with the accused. The accused deaf lady has been languishing in jail for more than two years and her case hasn’t been arraigned because of the court’s difficulty in communicating with her. So the only legal solution is to set her free. The next issue they have to deal with is where to hand her over because I believe her relatives already abandoned her. Here is the entire news:

MANILA, Philippines — Her condition helped a 20-year-old deaf-mute woman gain her freedom after spending two years in a Negros Oriental jail for theft, an online news site reported on Wednesday.

The Visayan Daily Star said Judge Arlene Dato ordered the release of the deaf-mute, who was accused of theft in January 2007.

The woman was jailed after she was caught stealing the laptop of Manuel Cesar Reno Cadiz. She was also linked to other theft cases.

But Dato noted the woman had not been arraigned for more than two years, because she could not speak and does not know sign language.

She said both factors hampered her right to a speedy trial, adding it would be a travesty of justice for her to continue languishing in jail without her case being tried.

Dato said all avenues by which the accused can be effectively arraigned have been exhausted, to no avail.

On the other hand, the local Bureau of Jail Management and Penology faces the problem of who to turn the deaf-mute over, as she has no known family or address.

Carmelo Cepe of the Diocesan Association of Volunteers and Interpreters for the Deaf Mute, called on families who may be interested in giving the deaf-mute a temporary shelter.

He said his group was contacted to help police authorities communicate with the girl, but she was not trained on sign language.

The City Social Welfare Office also cannot provide temporary shelter to the woman at the Casa Esperanza as most of those staying there are minors.

2 thoughts on “Being deaf shortens thief’s jail term

Add yours

  1. Hello Vicki!

    I understand you. I also don’t like the word deaf-mute. But I only quoted the news article so I don’t want to change any content of the news. But if you look at my own paragraphs, I wrote “deaf”.

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