Regina 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 of an interpreter was a mere ploy. In the other a juror reported that other jurors had refused to consider the evidence properly.
Held: ‘We shall never know’ fits in uneasily with modern conceptions of fairness and due process in the criminal justice system. Nevertheless, the common law should not be extended to permit enquiries into events in the jury room where they are not now permitted. That so many jury verdicts are majority verdicts indicates that there is often strong disagreement. ‘This is inevitably a fertile scenario for a dissident juror, maybe honestly, maybe not, to claim that the majority disregarded or misunderstood the judge’s direction, did not understand the facts, were not prepared to listen to argument or were prejudiced in some way.’ The rule against any investigation or inquiry into jury deliberations is a rule of admissibility; evidence about the deliberations of the jury is therefore inadmissible. The House made recommendations for possible improvements in practice in Crown Courts as to the instruction of juries.

Lord Steyn, Lord Slynn of Hadley, Lord Hope of Craighead, Lord Hobhouse of Woodborough, Lord Rodger of Earlsferry
[2004] UKHL 2, Times 23-Jan-2004, [2004] 2 WLR 201, [2004] 1 AC 1118, [2004] HRLR 11, 16 BHRC 279, [2004] 2 Cr App R 8, [2004] 1 All ER 925
House of Lords, Bailii
European Convention on Human Rights 6.1 8
England and Wales
CitedMcIlkenny v Chief Constable of the West Midlands CA 1980
The appellant had been convicted of an IRA bombing, causing loss of many lives. The appellant and his other co-accused alleged that their confessions had been induced by police violence. The trial judge ruled that their confessions were voluntary . .
CitedRegina v Secretary of State for The Home Department Ex Parte Simms HL 8-Jul-1999
Ban on Prisoners talking to Journalists unlawful
The two prisoners, serving life sentences for murder, had had their appeals rejected. They continued to protest innocence, and sought to bring their campaigns to public attention through the press, having oral interviews with journalists without . .
CitedGregory 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 . .
CitedPilar Aida Rojas v Brian Berllaque PC 10-Nov-2003
PC (Gibraltar) The system of selecting a criminal jury obliged men to be available for selection, but women could choose not to be on the role of jurors. The result was that jury lists and juries were almost . .
CitedEllis v Deheer 1922
The court heard an application for a new trial of a civil action which had been tried before a jury on the ground that the verdict as delivered by the foreman was not the verdict of the jury.
Held: A jury’s deliberations cannot be questioned. . .
CitedRegina 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 . .
CitedStewart v Fraser 1830
The court asked under what circumstances it would be permitted to enquire as to a jury’s deliberations. The court approved the description in Hume’s Commentaries. . .
CitedRas 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. . .
CitedRegina v Thompson CCA 1962
There was tendered to the court what appeared to be a statement from a juror asserting that a majority of the jury had been ready to acquit until the foreman read out a list of the previous convictions of the accused.
Held: ‘This court is now . .
CitedRegina v Hood CCA 1968
An affidavit was submitted to say that a juror had known, independently, of the defendant’s previous convictions. The juror’s knowledge came from acquaintance with the mother of the prisoner’s wife.
Held: The conviction was upheld. Events in a . .
CitedDr John Roylance v The General Medical Council Oral judgment upon petition PC 19-Jan-1999
(Medical Act 1983) Discussions in camera by the professional conduct committee of the General Medical Council attracted public interest immunity and were not disclosable to the party before the council. . .
CitedAttorney 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 . .
CitedSwankie v H M Advocate 1991
Enquiries into a jury’s deliberations might be allowable as to extraneous events which might have affected them. . .
CitedRegina v Brandon CACD 1969
The court considered whether events outside the jury room having possible effects on deliberations might leave those open to enquiry. The jury bailiff had told the jury of the accused’s previous convictions. This was a grave irregularity, was . .
CitedRegina v BM and Another CACD 9-Dec-1996
A message was offered to one of the solicitors acting for a defendant from a relative of a juror after the trial.
Held: Rules against hearing of jury deliberations are wider than Contempt of Court Act. The court refused to commence any Young . .
CitedRegina v Young (Stephen) CACD 30-Dec-1994
Jury Consulting Ouija Board – Serious Irregularity
It had been suggested that during their overnight stay in a hotel after retiring to consider their verdict, some of the jurors had consultated an ouija board to consult with the deceased, and to ask him who had been his killer. Having believed that . .
CitedLalchan 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 . .
CitedRegina v Millward CACD 7-Apr-1998
The defendant was tried for causing grievous bodily harm. After a majority direction, the jury returned, finding him guity. When asked if this was ‘the verdict of you all’, the formean replied ‘Yes’. The day after, he wrote to the judge to say that . .
CitedSander v The United Kingdom ECHR 9-May-2000
In a trial of an Asian defendant a juror complained that other jurors had made racist jokes, and feared that the defendant would not receive a fair trial. The judge obtained re-assurance from the jury that they would not so act, but did so in a way . .
CitedRegina v Sawyer 2001
(Canada) the court considered the reasons underlying the need for secrecy of a jury’s deliberations: ‘The first reason supporting the need for secrecy is that confidentiality promotes candour and the kind of full and frank debate that is essential . .
CitedRemli v France ECHR 23-Apr-1996
Hudoc Judgment (Merits and just satisfaction) Preliminary objection allowed (non-exhaustion) (Art. 14+6); Preliminary objection rejected (non-exhaustion) (Art. 6); Preliminary objection rejected (out of time) . .
CitedVaise v Delaval 1785
The court refused to receive affidavits from two jurors indicating that they had decided on their verdict by tossing a coin to resolve the issue. The rationale was that this was to protect them against self-incrimination for what he described as a . .
CitedHarvey v Hewitt 1840
It was alleged that the jurors had drawn lots to select their verdict: ‘No doubt . . that we cannot take the affidavit of a juryman stating his own misconduct, or that of his brother jurymen . . The affidavits here produced, however, are not made by . .
CitedRegina v Andrew Brown 1906
(New South Wales – Australia) Darley CJ said: ‘I have come to the conclusion that the authorities are all one way, and that the Court cannot look at the affidavits of jurymen for any purpose, whether it be for the purpose of granting a new trial, or . .
CitedRegina v Armstrong HL 1922
The defendant was charged with the murder of his wife by giving her arsenic. His defence was that he had not administered the poison, although he admitted that he had arsenic which, he said, he used as a weed killer. He claimed that his wife had . .
CitedEllis v Deheer 1922
The court heard an application for a new trial of a civil action which had been tried before a jury on the ground that the verdict as delivered by the foreman was not the verdict of the jury.
Held: A jury’s deliberations cannot be questioned. . .
CitedHM Attorney-General v Associated Newspapers Ltd and Others HL 4-Feb-1994
Following the acquittal of a prominent politician on a charge of conspiracy to murder, the New Statesman magazine published an article, based on an interview with one of the jurors, which gave an account of significant parts of the jury’s . .
CitedThe Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission for an Order etc SCS 29-Aug-2000
The court drew attention to the difference between the situation where the court itself makes inquiries as to events in the jury retiring room with the aim of bringing the court in question into contempt and that where it makes inquiries with the . .
CitedPirie v Caledonian Railway Company 1890
It was out of the question for the court to entertain any challenge after the trial to a verdict which had been delivered and agreed to by the jurors as their verdict. This was settled law in Scotland. . .
CitedBoston v W S Bagshaw and Sons (Note) CA 1966
Once a jury have given their verdict, and it has been accepted by the judge, and they have been discharged, they are not at liberty to say that they meant something different: ‘The reasons for this are twofold: first, to secure the finality of . .
CitedRex v Wooller 1817
Some of the jurors, although present when the verdict was delivered, were so placed that they were not able to hear what the foreman said and were in fact in disagreement with it.
Held: The exclusionary rule had not been infringed by evidence . .
CitedRex 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. . .
CitedPullar v The United Kingdom ECHR 10-Jun-1996
The applicant P was an elected councillor. He faced a charge of corruption, being said to have have offered, for reward, to support a planning application made by M, a partner in a firm of architects, and C, a partner in a firm of quantity . .
CitedMontgomery and Coulter v Her Majesty’s Advocate PC 19-Oct-2000
The test of whether a defendant’s common law right to a fair trial had been damaged by pre-trial publicity was similar to the test under the Convention, and also where there was any plea of oppression. The substantial difference is that no balancing . .

Cited by:
AppliedPractice Direction (Crown court: Guidance to Jurors) CACD 23-Feb-2004
Where jurors had concerns about the behaviour of fellow jurors, they should bring these to the attention of the judge during the trial rather than after. Jurors should be told of this, but not in such a way as to encourage inappropriate criticism of . .
CitedTransco Plc v Her Majesty’s Advocates HCJ 16-Sep-2004
A dwellinghouse had exploded, killing the occupants. The defendant was to be tried for alleged breaches of the 1974 Act in the gas supoplies to the house. The appellant complained that a jury trial would be an infringement of its rights, since a . .
CitedRegina v Smith, Regina v Mercieca HL 16-Feb-2005
A member of the jury wrote to the judge saying that other members were failing to discharge their duties properly. Smith took a tactical decision not to seek a retrial. The judge saw counsel in chambers, after which the jury were reminded of their . .
CitedRegina v Karakaya CACD 16-Feb-2005
No Internet Research for juror
After conclusion of the trial, the jury bailiff discovered notes in the jury room which indictated that the jury, after they had retired for their verdict, had read and discussed notes obtained by a juror from the Internet relating to the case.
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 . .
CitedPintori, Regina v CACD 13-Jul-2007
The defendant appealed his conviction for possession of class A drugs, saying that the drugs found had belonged to somebody who had stayed at his flat whilst he had been away. One of the jurors later told a police officer that she had known through . .
CitedAttorney General v Fraill and Another CACD 16-Jun-2011
Juror’s use of Facebook was contempt
The court considered whether a juror had committed contempt of court. She had communicated with a defendant via Facebook, despite explicit warnings not to use the internet.
Held: Both juror and defendant in the trial had committed contempt of . .
CitedNunn v Suffolk Constabulary and Another Admn 4-May-2012
The claimant had been convicted of murder and his appeal had failed. He now sought disclosure of the forensic material held by the police to his own legal team.
Held: Permission to apply for review was granted, but the claim failed. ‘It is . .
CitedSeckerson and Times Newspapers Ltd v The United Kingdom ECHR 24-Jan-2012
The first applicant had been chairman of a jury and had expressed his concerns about their behaviour to the second applicant who published them. They were prosecuted under the 1981 Act. They had said that no details of the deliberations had been . .

Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice, Human Rights

Updated: 20 November 2021; Ref: scu.192108