Tue | Dec 1, 2020

Disabled woman fumes over treatment at Family Court

Published:Monday | October 28, 2019 | 3:57 PM
Karen Thomas - Contributed photo

A disabled woman is fuming after she was again forced to wait over one hour to enter the Family Court building in downtown Kingston.

Karen Thomas says the situation at the Duke Street-based building is compounded by the fact that the bathrooms do not have facilities that make them accessible to persons like her who are confined to a wheelchair.

Thomas said her ordeal today lasted close to 90 minutes, but indicated that long delays to enter the court have become the norm for her.

“It is not a facility for wheelchair persons. It’s the same procedure every time I go there,” she disclosed.

The 48-year-old Kingston woman said today’s visit to the Family was for a counselling session in a case she filed against the father of her child.

She said when she got there court employees provided a ramp that took her to the front door and that’s where her dilemma began.

According to her, the single door used by other members of the public was not wide enough for her wheelchair.

As a result, Thomas said the court staff opted to open the other side of the door.

“But the door jam and they tried to use a knife to pull it and they were there for a good while,” she said, estimating that she waited about 90 minutes.

“It was a great struggle for her (to get into the building),” one court staff told The Gleaner.

According to Thomas, her ordeal unfolded in front of a judge who was entering the building at the time.

“She said she did not like what she saw,” Thomas recounted.

Inside the court building, Thomas said she was taken to a side room on the ground floor where she met with a counsellor.

The three courtrooms at the Family Court are located on the third floor, which is inaccessible to persons confined to a wheelchair.

Court employees told The Gleaner that on other occasions when Thomas has to see a judge the hearing is conducted in an office space located on the ground floor.

Thomas said usually “they open a door to the side and let me in.”

We want to hear from you! Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169, email us at editors@gleanerjm.com or onlinefeedback@gleanerjm.com