Gregory v The United Kingdom: ECHR 25 Feb 1997


A judge’s direction to the jury to disregard any question of racial bias was sufficient to ensure a fair trial for the defendant. In discussing the protection of the secrecy of jury deliberations: ‘The court acknowledges that the rule governing the secrecy of jury deliberations is a crucial and legitimate feature of English trial law which serves to reinforce the jury’s role as the ultimate arbiter of fact and to guarantee open and frank deliberations among jurors on the evidence which they have heard.’
and ‘according to the constant case law of the Convention organs, the existence of impartiality must be determined according to a subjective test, namely, on the basis of a personal conviction of a particular judge in a given case – personal impartiality being assumed until there is proof to the contrary.
In addition, an objective test must be applied. It must be ascertained whether sufficient guarantees exist to exclude any legitimate doubt in this respect. Even appearances may be important: what is at stake is the confidence which the court must inspire in the accused in criminal proceedings and what is decisive is whether the applicant’s fear as to lack of impartiality can be regarded as objectively justifiable.’
Hudoc The Court recognised that it was possible for a risk of prejudice on the part of a jury to be effectively neutralised by an appropriate direction from the judge. The legal principles applied in England corresponded closely to its own case law on the objective requirements of impartiality.

Times 27-Feb-1997, 22299/93, (1997) 25 EHRR 577, [1997] ECHR 9
Worldlii, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights Art 6.1
Cited by:
DistinguishedRegina v Qureshi CACD 23-Jul-2001
The appellant had been convicted of arson. A few days after the conviction, one juror reported concern about the behaviour of the jury.
Held: Authority was clear, that the court could not enter into an investigation of what had happened with . .
DistinguishedRegina v Smith (Lance Percival) CACD 19-Feb-2003
The defendant argued that the judge should have ensured that some members of the jury were black. He was a black man being tried by an all white jury, with a white victim and white witnesses.
Held: The judge had no part to play in the . .
CitedRegina v Connor and another; Regina v Mirza HL 22-Jan-2004
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 . .
CitedIn Re Medicaments and Related Classes of Goods (No 2); Director General of Fair Trading v Proprietary Association of Great Britain and Proprietary Articles Trade Association CA 21-Dec-2000
The claimants alleged that a connection between a member of the Restrictive Practices Court, who was to hear a complaint and another company, disclosed bias against them. She had not recused herself.
Held: When asking whether material . .
CitedAttorney General v Scotcher HL 19-May-2005
Following a trial, a juror wrote to the defendant’s mother to say that other jury members had not considered the case in a proper manner. He had been given written advice that he was not free to discuss a case with anyone. He appealed his conviction . .
CitedRegina v Khan and Hanif CACD 14-Mar-2008
Each defendant appealed against his conviction saying that the presence on the jury of certain people involved in the law gave the appearance of bias.
Held: The court should be made aware if any potential juror either is or has been a police . .
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, Discrimination, Human Rights

Leading Case

Updated: 01 November 2021; Ref: scu.165487