Regina v Gilbert: CACD 1977

The defendant on a charge of murder had claimed at trial that he had acted in self-defence. He had not said anything of this sort in his police statement under caution. The trial judge had invited the jury, in the exercise of their common sense, to consider whether it was remarkable that the defendant had said nothing about self-defence.
Held: Dilhorne ‘As the law now stands, although it may appear obvious to the jury in the exercise of their common sense that an innocent man would speak and not be silent, they must be told that they must not draw the inference of guilt from his silence.’ and ‘It is in our opinion now clearly established by decisions of the Court of Appeal and of the Court of Criminal Appeal that to invite a jury to form an adverse opinion against an accused on account of his exercise of his right to silence is a misdirection.’


Viscount Dilhorne, Lord Scarman and Jupp J


(1977) 66 Cr App R 237


England and Wales

Cited by:

CitedRegina v McGarry CACD 16-Jul-1998
Where the judge decided that no inference could be drawn from the defendant’s silence, because of the absence of facts which could have been mentioned, he had a duty positively to warn the jury not arbitrarily to draw adverse inferences from the . .
CitedRegina v Webber HL 22-Jan-2004
The defendant complained that the judge had given a direction under s34 even though his counsel had only put matters to witnesses for the prosecution.
Held: A positive suggestion put to a witness by or on behalf of a defendant may amount to a . .
CitedRegina v Raviraj CACD 1986
The court described the circumstances where a defendant’s failure to provide an account of circumstances might lead to an inference being drawn against him: ‘where suspicious circumstances appear to demand an explanation, and no explanation . . . is . .
CitedRegina v Johnson; Regina v Hind CACD 11-Apr-2005
The defendant had when at the police station refused to leave his cell to attend for interview. At trial, the judge said that the jury could take account of this as a failure to mention when questioned, something which he now wished to rely upon. . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Evidence

Updated: 27 June 2022; Ref: scu.185661