The High Court held that the Court of Appeal did not err in holding that the appellant - who is profoundly deaf - was not discriminated against when she was excluded from jury service.
Lyons had been summoned in 2012 for jury service by the Deputy Registrar of the Ipswich District Court. She contacted the Ipswich Courthouse advising that she would require the services of two Australian Sign Language (Auslan) interpreters. In response the Deputy Registrar indicated that there was no provision under the Jury Act 1995 (Qld) to administer an oath to an interpreter for a juror. It was not possible for an interpreter to be present in the jury room during its deliberations.
Lyons' complaint to the Anti-Discrimination Commission of Queensland was referred to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). She asserted in Lyons v State of Queensland (No 2)  QCAT 731 that the Deputy Registrar contravened prohibitions under the Anti-Discrimination Act 1991 (Qld) regarding direct and indirect discrimination in the performance of a function or the exercise of a power under Queensland law.
She asserted that her dignity had been affronted. She asserted that exclusion on the basis of her impairment constituted direct discrimination. She also asserted that the Deputy Registrar had imposed a condition on her participation in the jury process, constituting indirect discrimination. She souight compensation of $20,000.
In considering the assertions QCAT found that the Deputy Registrar's understanding of the Jury Act was incorrect. However it accepted that the Deputy Registrar had not unlawfully discriminated against the appellant. Lyons appealed to QCAT's Appeal Tribunal, which dismissed the appeal and held in Lyons v State of Queensland  QCATA 302 that the Deputy Registrar's understanding of the Jury Act was correct. The Court of Appeal refused leave to appeal from the Appeal Tribunal's decision. By grant of special leave, the appellant then appealed to the High Court.
The High Court today held that, absent specific legislative provision, Queensland law did not permit an Auslan interpreter to be present during jury deliberations. Accordingly, Lyons was not qualified to serve as a juror. The Deputy Registrar was required to exclude her from the jury panel.
As a consequence, the Court held that exercise of the Deputy Registrar's powers in conformity with the Jury Act 1995 (Qld) did not infringe the relevant prohibitions under the Anti-Discrimination Act against discrimination.
It may be, as the appellant submits, that the secrecy of the jury's deliberations would not be compromised by the presence of an accredited Auslan interpreter in the jury room during the jury's deliberations. Nonetheless, Douglas J was right to hold that, absent specific legislative provision for that to occur, Queensland law does not permit an Auslan interpreter to be present during the jury's deliberations.