Ibrahim -v- The King; PC 6-Mar-1914

(Hong Kong) The defendant was an Afghan subject with the British Army in Hong Kong. He was accused of murder. Having accepted the protection of the British Armed forces, he became subject to their laws. In custody, he was asked about the offence by a senior officer, and admitted the act. He appealed on the basis that the admission was not voluntary, having being made to an officer with authority over him, and should not have been admitted.
Held: The committee was not inclined to enunciate a general rule for admissibility of evidence in such circumstances, this is a matter for the Court of Criminal Appeal. It could only say that any defect must be such as to deprive the accused of a fair trial, before a decision could be set aside. The appellate court should ask whether the summing up contains ‘Something which . . deprives the accused of the substance of fair trial and the protection of the law, or which, in general, tends to divert the due and orderly administration of the law into a new course, which may be drawn into an evil precedent in future.’ and
‘It has long been established as a positive rule of English criminal law, that no statement by an accused is admissible in evidence against him unless it is shewn by the prosecution to have been a voluntary statement, in the sense that it has not been obtained from him either by fear of prejudice or hope of advantage exercised or held out by a person in authority. The principle is as old as Lord Hale.’

Court: PC
Date: 06-Mar-1914
Judges: The Lord Chancellor Lord Moulton, Lord Atkinson Lord Sumner, Lord Shaw, Delivered by Lord Sumner
Statutes: Foreign Jurisdiction Act 1890 4(1)
Links: Bailii, PC,
References: [1914] UKPC 1, [1914] AC 599
Cases Cited:

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