Attorney General v New Statesman and National Publishing Company Ltd: 1981

The Attorney General sought an order of contempt of court at common law following the publication in the ‘New Statesman’ of a juror’s account of significant parts of the jury’s deliberations in the course of arriving at their verdict in the trial of the prominent politician, Jeremy Thorpe.
Held: The application failed. The contents of the article did not justify the title of contempt of court. There were no special circumstances, other than publication of some of the secrets of the jury room, that called for condemnation. Lord Widgery CJ added: ‘That does not mean that we would not wish to see restrictions on the publication of such an article because we would.’


Lord Widgery CJ


[1981] QB 1


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina v Connor and another; Regina v Mirza HL 22-Jan-2004
Extension of Inquiries into Jury Room Activities
The defendants sought an enquiry as to events in the jury rooms on their trials. They said that the secrecy of a jury’s deliberations did not fit the human right to a fair trial. In one case, it was said that jurors believed that the defendant’s use . .
CitedHM Attorney General v Seckerson and Times Newspapers Ltd Admn 13-May-2009
The first defendant had been foreman of a jury in a criminal trial. He was accused of disclosing details of the jury’s votes and their considerations with concerns about the expert witnesses to the second defendant. The parties disputed the extent . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.192250