Blind judge leads trial of partially-sighted man

THE LEGAL statement ‘justice is blind’ came true when a blind judge presided over the trial of a man who is also visually impaired.

THE LEGAL statement ‘justice is blind’ came true when a blind judge presided over the trial of a man who is also visually impaired.

Judge John Lafferty is Britain’s only full-time blind judge. But he created what is believed to be a legal first when he presided over the case of 83-year-old Joseph Wicks, accused of repeatedly raping and molesting two young girls.

Judge Lafferty made notes on a brail computer as Snaresbrook Crown Court heard how the offences took place when Wicks lived in Dagenham almost 40 years ago. The assaults were not reported until last year.

Prosecutor Brian Reece said: “This defendant committed serious sexual offences against two girls from the late 1960s to a day in 1977 when he was caught by his wife almost in the act of raping one of them.”


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The girl was later examined by a GP who alerted the police but detectives failed to investigate. Wicks, who has lost his sight, was fit and able-bodied at the time of the alleged offences.

Wicks, now of Coronation Close, Broadstairs, denies four counts of indecency with a child, nine counts of buggery, seven counts of rape, nine counts of indecent assault. The trial continues.

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