Rex v Smellie: CCA 1919

The defendant was accused of mistreating his eleven year old daughter. He was ordered to sit upon the stairs leading to the dock, out of her sight, in order to avoid her being intimidated.
Held: A judge could, using the courts own powers to regulate its own proceedings, remove the accused from the sight of a witness whom his presence might intimidate. The court rejected an objection rested on, inter alia, a proposition that ‘a prisoner is entitled at common law to be within sight and hearing of all the witnesses throughout his trial.’


(1919) 14 Cr App R 128


England and Wales


CitedRex v Lee Kun CCA 1916
Accused must hear and understand the proceedings
A judge, from the moment he embarks upon a trial until he is functus officio that trial, is under a duty to ensure that both the process and substance of the trial is fair, and that both are duly compliant with appropriate principles. Lord Reading . .

Cited by:

CitedD (A Minor), Regina (on the Application of) v Camberwell Green Youth Court HL 27-Jan-2005
The defendant challenged the obligatory requirement that evidence given by a person under 17 in sex or violent offence cases must normally be given by video link.
Held: The purpose of the section was to improve the quality of the evidence . .
CitedAG for the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia v Steinhoff PC 19-Jul-2005
(Akrotiri and Dhekelia) The defendant had appealed convictions for rape and attempted rape. He had criticised the arrangements for protecting the complainant when giving evidence, which had not complied with the 1999 Act. His appeal succeeded in . .
CitedRegina v Davis HL 18-Jun-2008
The defendant had been tried for the murder of two men by shooting them at a party. He was identified as the murderer by three witnesses who had been permitted to give evidence anonymously, from behind screens, because they had refused, out of fear, . .
CitedStanford v United Kingdom ECHR 11-Apr-1994
A defendant’s difficulty in hearing the case because of a screen erected to protect the identity of witnesses did not vitiate the trial or make it unfair. The right to a fair trial included the right to be present and in a position to follow the . .
Lists of cited by and citing cases may be incomplete.

Criminal Practice

Updated: 09 May 2022; Ref: scu.222104