Ras Behari Lal v King-Emperor: PC 1933

It was alleged that a juror had been unable to understand sufficient English to follow the trial.
Held: The rule against enquiring into the events in the jury room has an exception where there are external events which may have affected them. The conviction must be set aside on the ground that the effect of the jury’s inability to understand the language was to deny the accused persons an essential part of the protection afforded to them by law, and that the result of the trial was a miscarriage of justice.
Lord Atkin said: ‘The question whether a juror is competent for physical or other reasons to understand the proceedings is not a question which invades the privacy of the discussions in the jury box or in the retiring room. It does not seek to inquire into the reasons for a verdict.’ and ‘Finality is a good thing; but justice is a better.’


Lord Atkin


(1933) 50 TLR 1, (1933) 60 IA 354




Not FollowedRex v Thomas CCA 1933
The court refused to receive evidence that two Welsh-speaking jurors at Merioneth Quarter Sessions did not have sufficient knowledge of English to enable them to follow the proceedings. . .

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 . .
ApprovedLalchan Nanan v The State PC 1986
(Trinidad and Tobago) The Board refused to admit evidence that four members of the jury, including the foreman, were acting under a misapprehension when they agreed to the verdict. However, the Board accepted the possibility that other cases might . .
CitedCart, Regina (on The Application of) v The Upper Tribunal and Others CA 23-Jul-2010
The claimant had sought and been refused judicial review of a decision of the SIAC Upper Tribunal. The Upper Tribunals were designated as courts of superior record, and the court at first instance had said that SIACs specialist procedures and . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

Updated: 13 May 2022; Ref: scu.192251