Joshua v The Queen: PC 1955

The Board of the Privy Council considered the possibility of a judge directing a jury to find guilt.
Held: In a jury trial the judge has no fact finding role
Lord Oaksey said: ‘On the second question their Lordships are of opinion that it was for the judge to direct the jury as to the elements of the crime of effecting a public mischief (assuming that such a crime exists) and to direct them on the facts if he thought that there was evidence to go to the jury, and it was for the jury to find whether the appellant was guilty upon those facts. It was a misdirection to tell the jury as a matter of law that they must convict the appellant if they found that he had spoken the words alleged. To do so was, in their Lordships’ opinion, to usurp the function of the jury . . It is a general principle of British law that on a trial by jury it is for the judge to direct the jury on the law and in so far as he thinks necessary on the facts, but the jury, whilst they must take the law from the judge, are the sole judges on the facts . .’


Lord Oaksey


[1955] AC 121, [1955] 1 All ER 22



Cited by:

CitedWang, Regina v HL 10-Feb-2005
The appellant was waiting for a train when his bag was stolen. After a search, the thief tried to deter the appellant from calling the police by suggesting that the bag contained items the appellant should not be carrying. From the bag the appellant . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

Updated: 16 May 2022; Ref: scu.222702