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Cases - juries
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Lecture notes

ABC Trial (1978)

Abdroikof, R v [2007] HL

Aitken v Preston (1997) CA

Andrews, R v (1998) CA

Attorney General v Associated Newspapers Ltd [1994] HL

Blythe, R v (1998)

Broderick, R v [1970] CA

'Bushell's Case' 1670

Clark v Chief Constable of Cleveland (1999) CA

Comerford. R v [1998] CA

Connor (and Rollock) and Mirza, R v. (Conjoined Appeals) [2004] HL

Criminal Justice Act 1967 s.17

Danvers, R v [1982] Crown Court

Davies, R v (1999) Crown Court

Dolby, R v (1823)

Ellis v Deheer [1922]  Bankes LJ

Fricker, R v (1999) CA

Ford (Royston), R v (1989) CA

Gough, R v [1993] HL

Gregory v United Kingdom (1997) ECHR

Harvey v Hewitt (1840) Coleridge J

John v MGN Ltd [1997] CA

R v Khan (2008) CA

Kelleher, R v [2003] CA

Kray, R v (1969) CA

Litchfield, R v [1998] CA

Lowry, R v [2004] CA

Mason, R v [1981] CA

McKenna (McKenna and Busby), R v [1960] CA

Melchett, R v (2000)

Miah (& Akhbar), R v [1997] CA

News Group Newspapers Ltd and another v Grobbelaar (2001) CA

Obellim and others, R v [1996] CA

Owen, R v (1992)

Ponting, R v [1985]

Qureshi, R v [2002] CA

Randle & Pottle, R v (1991) Alliott J

Rantzen v Mirror Group Newspapers [1994] CA

Ras Behari Lal v King-Emperor (1933) PC

Re Osman (Practice Note) [1995] Verney J

Richardson, R v [2004] CA

Salt, R v [1996] CA

Schot & Barclay, R v [1997] CA

Sheffield Crown Court ex parte Brownlow (1980) CA

Smith, R v [2003] CA

Sutcliffe v Pressdram [1990] CA

Thompson v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [1997] CA

Tarrant, R v (1997) CA

Thompson, R v [1962] CA

Vaise v Delaval (1785) Lord Mansfield CJ

Vickers, R v (1975) CA

Ward v Chief Constable of the West Midlands (1997) CA

Ward v James [1965] CA

Willer, R v (1986) CA

Wiltshire v Barrett [1966] CA

Wilson & Sproson, R v (1995) CA

Wilson, Kronlid, Needham, Zeltna, R v (1996)

Young, R v [1995] CA

 

ABC Trial (1978)

 

[Juries - vetting]

DDD (two journalists and a soldier) were alleged to have revealed government secrets by exposing activities at GCHQ.

During the trial it was revealed that the Attorney-General's Guidelines of 1974 were in existence and had been used since 1974.

 

Held: A retrial was ordered.

 

Guilty: The journalists were acquitted of spying but found guilty of disclosure of defence information. The signals expert, received a suspended sentence.

 

Comment: The case is called the ABC Trial because of the government's attempt to rename a key army witness "Colonel B".

 

Abdroikof, R v [2007] HL

 

Whole case, here

 

Red Triangle indicating important information

^[Juries - composition]

DDD challenged the composition of the jury in their trials. In two cases, a serving police officer sat as a juror, and in the other, a Crown Prosecution Service solicitor.

 

Held: It appears from this decision of the House of Lords that where a prospective juror would be biased or give the appearance of bias he should stand down.

 

It has to be borne in mind that Parliament had, by enacting the Criminal Justice Act 2003, that such persons were eligible to sit on juries, envisaging that any objection to their sitting would be the subject of judicial decision.

 

Nevertheless, it had to be doubted whether Parliament had contemplated that employed Crown prosecutors would sit as jurors in prosecutions brought by their own authority.
 

Appeal allowed and referred to the CofA

Abdroikof - attempted murder, appeal dismissed

Green - assault occasioning actual bodily harm, appeal allowed

Williamson - two counts of rape, appeal allowed

 

Comment: Considered in R v Khan (2008) CA, where the Court of Appeal declined to give guidelines, except that matters of bias should be sorted before the trial and police officers, CPS and prison personnel should be identified before the trial.  In the event of likely bias the juror should be stood down.  It will remain to be seen if this judgment means those persons will no longer be jurors.

Aitken v Preston (1997) CA

 

Whole case here

^[Juries - jury trial not appropriate in complex libel cases]
DD the Guardian and
Granada television, libelled Jonathan Aitkin (the subsequently imprisoned Tory minister) and (at C's request) Popplewell J ordered a non-jury trial.

Held: The trial would involve the prolonged examination of documents, and a jury could not conveniently do that. The emphasis now was against jury trials, and a single judge would give a reasoned judgement for or against the claimant on each of the issues in dispute, whereas a jury would give only a general verdict perhaps leaving some doubt as to whether C or DD had been vindicated in relation to some issues.

 

Order affirmed.

Andrews, R v (1998) CA

 

Whole case here

 

^[Juries - vetting]
D murdered her boyfriend. D alleged a fictitious motorist had killed him in  a "road rage" incident. D claimed that adverse press coverage had prevented a fair trial. The trial judge refused to allow a questionnaire to be put to the jury to identify possible prejudice.

Held: The questioning of potential jurors; either orally or by questionnaire, was to be avoided except in cases where they might reasonably have had a financial interest in the events on which the trial was based. The law generally assumes that jurors will be faithful to their oaths to return a true verdict in accordance with the evidence.

Appeal dismissed.

Attorney General v Associated Newspapers Ltd [1994] HL

[Juries - secrecy of deliberations]

Information about how the verdict was reached in a criminal trial was disclosed by jurors to someone.  This person passed the information on to a journalist.  The journalist's article was published by a newspaper.

 

The issue was whether it also prohibited publication of the information in a newspaper.
 

It was submitted that Contempt of Court Act applied only to direct contact by or with the jury

 

Held: The argument was rejected.

 

The meaning that was to be given to the word "disclose" in section 8(1) was considered.
Lord Lowry sought to identify the mischief which the Act was designed to remedy. He drew attention a sentence in the Report of the Departmental Committee on Jury Service (1965):

"we agree with those of our witnesses who argued that if such disclosures were to be made, particularly to the Press, jurors would no longer feel free to express their opinions frankly when the verdict was under discussion, for fear that what they said later might be made public."

Later he quoted with approval a passage from a judgment by Beldam LJ:

"Section 8 is aimed at keeping the secrets of the jury room inviolate in the interests of justice. We believe that it would only be by giving it an interpretation which would emasculate Parliament's purpose that it could be held that the widespread disclosure in this case did not infringe the section."

Also here

Blythe, R v (1998)

 

Informal report here

 

[Juries – role in cases – perverse findings]
D cultivated cannabis with intent to supply it to his wife who was dying with multiple sclerosis. D feared W might commit suicide and pleaded duress of circumstances.

Held: The trial judge told the jury that the defence was not available in such a case. Nevertheless, the jury disregarded this instruction and found D not guilty.

Guilty of possession fined £100.

Broderick, R v [1970] CA

[Juries - challenges to the array]

D wished to be tried by an all-black jury.

 

Held: The judge, in asking for enquiries to be made as to whether there was one black person on the panel, had 'gone quite as far as law and consideration required'.

 

'Bushell's Case' 1670

 

Whole case here

 

Commentary here

 

 

Red Triangle indicating important information

^[Juries - jury cannot be ordered to convict against their conscience]

Having failed to convict his father, Sir William Penn, for treason, the state then prosecuted his barrister son (and William Mead) for practicing the Quaker religion.

 

The jury, led by Edward Bushell acquitted Both Penn and Mead of "leading a dissident form of worship".

 

The 10 judges repeatedly directed them to convict. The jury refused and were imprisoned.  The judge said, "You shall not be dismissed 'til we have a verdict that the court will accept."

 

The jurors were locked up "without meat, drink, fire or tobacco" for two nights before being fined and imprisoned until they paid.
 

They obtained a writ of habeas corpus and a ruling that they should not be punished for their verdict.

 

The Chief Justice released Penn and Mead, upholding "the right of juries to give their verdict by their conscience".
 

A memorial plaque commemorating 'Bushell's Case' is in the Old Bailey.

 

Penn later founded Pennsylvania.

 

Clark v Chief Constable of Cleveland (1999) CA

 

Whole case here

^[Juries – damages in defamation - s.8 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990]
Jury awarded C £500 damages for malicious prosecution.

Held: A jury still has some discretion, and is not bound by guidelines, but if it awards too much or too little its award may be altered on appeal.

 

Lord Justice Henry dissenting:

It seems to me that the jury rightly took the view that Lord Woolf’s bracket was not meant to include those who set dogs on policemen, generally abuse the police, and tell the jury lies to profit from conduct which, differently charged, was criminal. In my judgment this Court should not interfere with the jury’s award

Amount raised to £2000

Comerford. R v [1998] CA

 

Whole case here

 

 

 

^[Juries – arrangements made in ‘knobbling’ case]
D dealt in large amounts of cocaine, and the prosecution thought an attempt might be made to "nobble" the jury. The judge ordered special protection for the jury, and allowed the jurors to be identified only by numbers and not by their names.

Held: Lord Bingham LCJ:

"It is highly desirable that in normal circumstances the usual procedure for empanelling a jury should be followed. But if, to thwart the nefarious designs of those suspected of seeking to nobble a jury, it is reasonably thought to be desirable to withhold jurors' names, we can see no objection to that course provided the defendant's right of challenge is preserved."

Appeal dismissed.

Connor (and Rollock) and Mirza, R v. (Conjoined Appeals) [2004] HL

 

Whole case here

 

 

Red Triangle indicating important information

^[Juries - the common law rule is that, after the verdict has been returned, evidence as to things said by jurors during their deliberations in private is inadmissible]

Connor and Rollock committed wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm by stabbing V.

Mirza committed  indecent assault over a period of time against a girl aged 6 until she was 15/16.  During both trials there were irregularities concerning the juries.

 

In Connor's case a jury member sent a letter to the judge (after verdict but before sentence) saying that the deliberations included discussion that to find both guilty...

"would teach them a lesson, things in this life were not fair and sometimes innocent people would have to pay the price"...

and that if they didn't find both guilty they would be deliberating for another week.

 

In Mirza's case the jury appeared to have doubts about D using a court interpreter despite being resident in the UK or 13 years, they sent two notes to the judge to clarify their doubts (one after verdict but before sentence),

D's barrister also received a letter from a juror which told him the jury thought the use of the interpreter was a ploy, and she described some of the jury deliberations

 

Held:

By a 4-1 majority the appeals were dismissed.

Their Lordships affirmed the principle that not even appeal judges can inquire into the deliberations of jurors.

 

But, a court cannot be in contempt of itself.  Section 8(1) is addressed to third parties who can be punished for contempt, and not to the court which has the responsibility of ensuring that the defendant receives a fair trial.

It is going too far to suggest, as the Court of Appeal appears to have done in R v Young (Stephen), that the trial court will be in contempt of itself if during the trial, having received allegations, it investigates them and discloses the result of these investigations to counsel.

 

The court is restricted in its inquiry into what happened in the jury's deliberations, not by section 8 Contempt of Court Act but by the longstanding rule of the common law that evidence of jury deliberations after the verdict has been delivered is inadmissible. .  Sec 8 merely reinforces the common law rule about jury secrecy.

 

Lord Slynn said the principle was “essential to the operation of the jury system as we know it”.

 

The common law rule is not incompatible with article 6(1) of the Convention.

 

Guilty

Criminal Justice Act 1967 s.17

 

[Juries – jury can be directed to return verdict]

Entry of verdict of not guilty by order of a judge
 

Where a defendant arraigned on an indictment or inquisition pleads not guilty and the prosecutor proposes to offer no evidence against him, the court before which the defendant is arraigned may, if it thinks fit, order that a verdict of not guilty shall be recorded without the defendant being given in charge to a jury, and the verdict shall have the same effect as if the defendant had been tried and acquitted on the verdict of a jury.

 

Danvers, R v [1982] Crown Court

[Juries - challenge to the array]

D a  West Indian objected to the jury at Nottingham Crown Court  because it was entirely white.

 

His challenge failed, even though the black population in Nottingham  represented about 10 per cent of the total.

 

Davies, R v (1999) Crown Court

 

[Juries - acquittal for 'medicinal’ cannabis grower}

Colin Davies aged 42, from Stockport, vowed to continue growing, using and supplying cannabis after a jury at Manchester Crown Court acquitted him.

 

It was the second time in 13 months that Mr Davies, a father of two, had mounted a successful defence. At the first trial he was cleared of possessing the drug.

 

Mr Davies, a former joiner, broke his back in a 60ft fall from a bridge five years ago. He walks with a limp and is in constant pain. He says that conventional treatments prescribed by doctors prompted spasms and sickness, so he turned to cannabis in desperation and began cultivating the plants in his flat.

Dolby, R v (1823)

[Juries - challenges]

The sheriff who was responsible for summoning the jury was a subscriber to the society which was the prosecutor.

The array was successfully challenged.

 

"Upon an award of tales at Nisi Prius, it is not necessary that the tales should be selected out of persons accidentally present; they may be selected out of persons whose presence the sheriff or coroner has taken previous means to obtain."

 

Ellis v Deheer [1922]  Bankes LJ

^[Juries - court will not consider evidence of jury deliberations]

The verdict delivered by the foreman was not heard by the whole jury and they did not assent to it.

 

Held: The court will not take evidence about jury deliberations, but was not precluded from granting a new trial by the fact that the objection to the verdict was not taken until after the jury had been discharged, but...
 

Bankes LJ:

"I desire to make it clear that the court will never admit evidence from jurymen of the discussion which they may have had between themselves when considering their verdict or of the reasons for their decision, whether the discussion took place in the jury room after retirement or in the jury box itself".

Fricker, R v (1999) CA

 

Whole case here

^[Juries - may only consider evidence presented during the trial]

D was alleged to have been in possession of stolen tyres.

The jury sent a note to the judge which read:

"One of the jurors is a tyre specialist. The code 088 on the tyre signifies [that is the tyre produced as an exhibit] that the tyre was manufactured in the eighth week of 1998. The defendant claims to have had the tyres in his house around this period certainly very little time for the tyres to have gone through normal purchase before being acquired by the defendant. May we take this into consideration?"

Just as the judge had made up his mind to allow the jury to take this matter into account the jury indicated that they had reached a verdict.
The jury convicted and D appealed.

 

Held: It was wrong that the jury should have been allowed to introduce entirely new evidence into the case, when neither party had been given the opportunity to consider it and test it, and where D in particular had not been given any opportunity to provide an explanation for it.

 

Not guilty

Ford (Royston), R v (1989) CA

 

 

Red Triangle indicating important information

^[Juries - selection - challenges- selection matter for 'Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice']
D was of mixed race and preferred to be called black. D was chased and arrested by a constable, also of mixed race for unlawful use of a motor car.

 

At the Crown Court D applied to the judge for a multiracial jury. The judge, under the misapprehension that counsel was about to use the case as a platform for racial haranguing, refused the application and, later, was intent on stopping defence counsel from asking any question which had any tinge of colour in it.

 

Held, A judge, at common law can prevent individual jurors who were not competent from serving on the jury.  This did not include the discharge of competent jurors so as to influence the overall composition of the jury.

The essence of the jury system was random selection, and random selection was a matter not for the judge but for the Lord Chancellor in accordance with section 5(1) of the Juries Act 1974.

A judge had no power to influence the composition of a jury.

Not guilty because the judge's misunderstanding about unnecessary racial argumentation had led him into unwitting error whereby he prevented counsel from putting questions that he was lawfully entitled to put.

 

Comment: this case is authority for preventing any meddling with the composition of jury panels, whether for reasons of race or sex.

 

Gregory v United Kingdom (1997) ECHR

 

Whole case here

 

 

 

^[Jury deliberations must be secret - principle does not contravene Art 6 ECHR]

D, who was black, was tried for robbery. After the jury had been deliberating for about two hours, a note was passed from the jury to the judge, saying "Jury showing racial overtones. One member to be excused."

 

The judge showed the note to the prosecution and the defence. He then recalled the jury and gave them a careful direction on the need for them to put any form of prejudice out of their minds and to decide the case, in accordance with their oath, on the evidence.

 

Held: Appeal against conviction dismissed. Undoubtedly, there must be a general rule that the deliberations of the jury must remain secret.

"The Court observes that it was not disputed that there was no evidence of actual or subjective bias on the part of one or more jurors. It was also accepted by both the applicant and the Government that it was not possible under English law for the trial judge to question the jurors about the circumstances which gave rise to the note. The Court acknowledges that the rule governing the secrecy of jury deliberations is a crucial and legitimate feature of English trial law which serves to reinforce the jury's role as the ultimate arbiter of fact and to guarantee open and frank deliberations among jurors on the evidence which they have heard."

(emphasis added)

Guilty

Comment:  This case is the authority for stating that the UK jury system does not contravene Art 6 ECHR

 

Gough, R v  [1993] HL

^[Juries - bias]

D had conspired with his brother to commit robbery. At the trial the brother was frequently referred to by name, and a photograph of him and D was shown to the jury and a statement containing the brother's address was read to the jury. One of the jurors was a next door neighbour of the brother but she did not recognise him or connect him with the man referred to in court until he started shouting in court after the appellant had been convicted and sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.

 

Held: The proper test of possible bias on the part of a juror was whether there was a real danger that the D might not have had a fair trial and not whether a reasonable and fair-minded person sitting in court and knowing all the relevant facts would have had a reasonable suspicion that a fair trial of the defendant was not possible.

Per curiam. In magistrates courts the test is whether a reasonable and fair-minded person sitting in court and knowing all the relevant facts would have a reasonable suspicion that a fair trial was not possible.

Guilty

Harvey v Hewitt (1840) Coleridge J

^[Jury deliberations must be secret - but extrinsic evidence is allowed]

Information was provided by an affidavit from the jury bailiff and persons in an adjoining room, that the jurors had arrived at their verdict by drawing lots.

 

Held: (1) A verdict decided by lot is a bad verdict, and the court will, where such verdict has been given, grant a new trial.

(2) Though the affidavits of individual jurors are not, on grounds of public policy, receivable to impugn their own verdict, yet the affidavits of persons within hearing, are admissible to give the court that information which cannot be derived from a party implicated.


Colerdige J:

"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 the jurors themselves . . . but they are the affidavits of persons who witnessed the transaction itself, of agreeing to draw lots, and drawing lots".

John v MGN Ltd
[1997] CA


 

[Juries - damages for libel - guidance to juries]
C, a well known musician claimed damages for defamation in respect of an article in "The Sunday Mirror" which claimed that C that his habit of not swallowing food constituted a form of bulimia.

The jury awarded  him £75,000 by way of compensatory damages and £275,000 by way of exemplary damages.

Held: Appeal allowed in part. The jury's attention could properly be drawn to such awards approved or substituted by the Court of Appeal and to the conventional compensatory scales of damages awarded in personal injury actions.  Counsel and the judge could indicate a sum or bracket of award appropriate to the particular case.

 

£25,000 & £50,000 substituted

Khan, R v  (2008) CA

 

Whole case:

R v Khan (2008) CA

 

Red Triangle indicating important information

^[Juries - composition]

Conjoined appeals where it was argued that there would be an appearance of bias if a police officer, CPS employee and a prison officer were served as jurors.

 

Held: There is no reason why police and prison officers and CPS employees should be considered biased because of their occupation.

 

Per curium: The Court of Appeal declined to give guidelines, except that matters of bias should be sorted before the trial and police officers, CPS and prison personnel should be identified before the trial.  In the event of likely bias the juror should be stood down. 

 

No bias in any of the cases

Comment: It will remain to be seen if this judgment means police and prison officers and CPS employees will no longer be jurors.

Kelleher, R v [2003] CA

^[Juries - judge must not direct a jury to convict]
D entered an art gallery and decapitated a statue of Baroness Thatcher in protest at her policies which he foresaw were leading the world towards its eventual destruction. The judge directed the jury to convict because of none of the evidence was disputed and the statutory defence did not engage with D.

Held: A judge is never entitled to direct a jury to return a verdict of guilty.

The evidence was overwhelming in any event, so the conviction was safe.

 

Kray, R v (1969) CA

^[Juries - challenge to the polls]

D was on trial for murder.  He wished to object to any jurors who had read newspaper articles published immediately after two of the accused had been convicted at an earlier trial for murder.

The articles complained of had reported the earlier verdict, but had also "set out a number of facts which were not in evidence at the trial and which were discreditable of those to whom they referred".

 

Lawton J criticised the newspapers for publishing the additional facts about the accused not disclosed in evidence at the first trial and then said:

"This does, in my judgment, lead to a prima facie presumption that anybody who may have read that kind of information might find it difficult to reach a verdict in a fair-minded way. It is, however, a matter of human experience . . . first, that the public's recollection is short, and, secondly, that the drama . . . of a trial almost always has the effect of excluding from recollection that which went before. A person summoned for this case would not . . . disqualify himself merely because he had read any of the newspapers containing allegations of the kind I have referred to; but the position would be different if, as a result of reading what he had, his mind had become so clogged with prejudice that he was unable to try the case impartially."

Comment: The effect of this ruling is that a juror may be challenged for cause if his mind is so prejudiced that he is unable to try the case impartially, but merely having once been informed of matters discreditable to the accused will not necessarily occasion such prejudice.

 

Litchfield, R v [1998] CA

 

Whole case here

 

 

 

This photo © (copyright) of the "Maria Assumpta" reproduced by kind permission of Max his site is here.

 

 

^[Juries - jury's role is to decide on the facts]

D the master of the "Maria Assumpta" which foundered off the Cornish coast and three crew members were drowned. The ship was reduced to "matchwood".

 

The gross negligence (manslaughter) was that D followed an unsafe course and relied too heavily on his engines even though he knew the fuel was contaminated. 

 

The jury's verdict was confused and on instructions from the judge had to be restated, clearly, and also, a juror's husband had a conversation with police officers involved in the case, of a wholly innocent nature about the weather and holidays.

 

Held: It is up to the jury to decide whether or not negligence is gross negligence. They could use common sense to decide complicated shipping matters.

There was no criticism of the way the judge dealt with perceived irregularities with he jury.

 

Simon Brown LJ:

"...the jury's views ought to be regarded as well-nigh sacrosanct given that under the law it is they who decide not merely the facts but also the point at which a breach of duty becomes the offence of manslaughter. There would need to be compelling grounds indeed before it would be proper for this court to say that the jury has set the standard impermissibly high.

Guilty 18 months imprisonment

Also here

 

Lowry, R v [2004] CA

[Juries - deliberations - evidence not before the court]
D unlawfully wounded V with a knife which he "found in his hand when he removed it from his pocket".
The jury indicated that the knife had fallen apart during their deliberations. The judge directed the jury that the knife itself was unimportant and that the jury should not waste their time considering it. It later became apparent that the jury had reassembled the knife.
D contended that the jury had plainly carried out an improper experiment on the exhibit and, since that had not occurred in open court, there had been an irregularity in the trial, which had rendered the conviction unsafe.

Held: It was impossible to speculate as to whether there had been any improper reconstruction carried out by the jury. It was clear that anything not before a jury in the course of evidence was inadmissible thereafter. Further, where there was a risk that the jury might reconstruct events out of line with the evidence, they were to be warned not to do so. However, in the instant case, what was obviously relevant was the size of the knife and whether it was likely the defendant had reached into his pocket and pulled it out believing it to be money.

Guilty

Mason, R v [1981] CA

 

 

Red Triangle indicates "Must Know" material

^[Juries - challenge - jury panel having criminal convictions]
D was convicted of burglary and handling stolen goods.

 

Before the trial, the police had checked the local criminal records and, unknown to the defence, they had supplied counsel for the prosecution with the names of those called for jury service who had been convicted of criminal offences.

 

When the jury were being empanelled, counsel asked four members of the panel to stand by for the Crown. Three of those had criminal convictions although at least one of them was not disqualified by his conviction from jury service. D was convicted of two offences of burglary and two offences of handling stolen goods.

Held: Both the Crown and the defence had a right to challenge a member of the jury panel.

 

The random selection of jurors had always been subject to the qualification that the judge and the parties were to decide which members of the jury panel were suitable to serve on a jury.

 

The ancient right of the Crown, confirmed by sections 12 (5) and 21 (5) of the Juries Act 1974, was not subject to there being a provable valid objection until such time as the jury panel was exhausted.

 

Therefore, there was nothing irregular in prosecuting counsel requesting a member of the panel to "stand by" because he had a conviction and, accordingly, there was no material irregularity in the course of the trial.

Per curiam.

Since it is a criminal offence for a person to serve on a jury knowing that he is disqualified for the police to scrutinise the list of potential jurors to see if any are disqualified is to do no more than to perform their usual function of preventing the commission of offences.

The well established practice of supplying the prosecution with information about potential jurors' convictions is not unlawful.

 

Guilty

McKenna (McKenna and Busby), R v [1960] CA

^[Juries - jury to reach its own decision without threats from the judge]

A judge, after the jury had been considering their verdict for two hours, told them that if they did not return a verdict in 10 minutes they would "have to be kept all night" and not resume their deliberations until mid-day on the following day.

 

His actual words were:

“I have disorganised my travel arrangements out of consideration for you pretty considerably already. I am not going to disorganise them any further. In ten minutes I shall leave this building and if, by that time, you have not arrived at a conclusion in this case you will have to be kept all night and we will resume this matter at 11.45 a.m. tomorrow. I do not know, and I am not entitled to ask—and I shall not ask—why in a case which does not involve any study of figures or documents you should require all this time to talk about the matter. May I suggest to you that you go back to your room, that you use your common sense, and do not worry yourself with legal quibbles. That is what you are brought here for: to use your common sense, bring a bit in from outside. There it is, members of the jury.”

 

Held: The court took the view that that was a threat, especially given the possible understanding of the jury that they were going to be locked up in the jury room all night.
They returned a verdict of guilty which was overturned on appeal.

 

Cassels J:

"It is a cardinal principle of English criminal law that a jury in considering their verdict shall deliberate in complete freedom, uninfluenced by any promise, unintimidated by any threat: they still stand between the Crown and the subject, and they are still one of the main defences of personal liberty."

 

Not Guilty

Melchett, R v (2000) Norwich Crown Court

 

News item here

 

Red Triangle indicates "Must Know" material

 

 

 

[Juries – role in cases – perverse findings]
D, The Lord Melchett was the leader of a large group of Greenpeace supporters who entered a field and destroyed part of a crop of genetically modified maize.

Held: On a charge of criminal damage, they could plead the statutory defence (under s.5 of the Criminal Damage Act 1971) that they honestly believed the destruction was reasonable and necessary to prevent damage to other crops.

Acquitted by jury

Miah (& Akhbar), R v [1997] CA

 

Whole case here

[Juries – secret deliberations]

DD committed violent disorder and A conspired to cause GBH and murder.
 

Held: The court cited, apparently with approval, a statement by Darley CJ in R v Andrew Brown (1907) NSWSR  an Australian case

"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 for the purpose of establishing the misconduct of a juryman".

Guilty

News Group Newspapers Ltd and another v Grobbelaar (2002) HL

 

Red Triangle indicates "Must Know" material

 

 

Whole case here

 

^[Jury verdict – rare case of overturning by Court of Appeal]
C, a famous goal keeper arranged to fix the results of football games, which was reported in The Sun newspaper so he sued for libel. The jury found in his favour and awarded damages for libel.

Held: Although the Court of Appeal was anxious not to usurp the jury function, there was jurisdiction to entertain an appeal on the ground of perversity.

 

The court had to conclude that no reasonable jury could have been satisfied on the balance of probabilities, to a relatively high degree of probability that the verdict was not one properly and reasonably open to them.

The House reversed this, but said the CofA not only could, but had a duty to set aside the jury's verdict.  They pointed out this applies to civil juries, never criminal juries.

They found on the facts that Grobbelaar had no reputation to save because he had arranged to 'fix' matches but the Sun had not proved he had done so.  Jury's verdict reinstated and £1 derisory damages awarded.

 

Jury's verdict reinstated.

Obellim and others, R v [1996] CA

^[Juries - jury vetting - collective responsibility of jury]

During the trial a question from the jury caused the judge to suspect that the author of the note knew a good deal about police interviews, and might have previous convictions, and therefore potentially disqualified.

 

The judge, without seeking the views of defence counsel, instigated enquiries into the identity of the juror in question, with a view to ascertaining whether he should have been disqualified from jury service.

 

After the jury returned with their verdicts, they handed the judge another note, which expressed concern that a security check had been made on a juror on the basis of his having asked questions of the court.

 

Held: Allowing the appeals.  It was questionable whether the judge should have made any enquiry into the juror's eligibility, other than to check that the proper enquiries had been made before the juror was called to jury service. In any event, he should have informed defence counsel.

 

Jury notes were from the whole of the jury, and it was not appropriate to make enquiries as to which juror had written a particular note.

It was an irregularity that the jury had become aware that a security check was being made on one of their members.

 

Not guilty

Owen, R v (1992) Maidstone Crown Court (unreported)

 

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[Juries – role in cases – perverse findings]
D’s injured T in the back and arm by firing a sawn off shotgun at him. T had killed D’s son by careless driving. Although T was sentenced to twelve months imprisonment D felt this was not enough, and when T was released committed this offence D was tried for attempted murder and malicious wounding with intent.

Held: The jury at Maidstone Crown Court acquitted him and some members later congratulated him on what he had done.

Not guilty

Extracts from news reports, here

Ponting, R v [1985]

 

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[Juries – role in cases – perverse findings]
D a civil servant working in the Ministry of Defence saw documents showing the Government (of MT) had lied about the sinking of the ship "General Belgrano" during the Falklands War.

 

D gave copies of these documents to an opposition MP so that the matter could be raised in Parliament D was charged under the Official Secrets Act.

Held: despite the judge's clear direction that D's conduct did amount to an offence, the jury acquitted him.

Not guilty

Comment: BBC report here

Qureshi, R v [2002] CA

 

 

[Juries – secret deliberations]

Three days after verdicts of guilty had been returned a member of the jury contacted the defendant’s solicitors making a number of claims concerning the conduct of the jury including allegations that some members of the jury had been racially prejudiced against the defendant and had reached a decision as to his guilt at the outset of the trial.

 

The juror later set out her allegations in a letter to the Crown Court. On the instructions of the Court of Appeal a police officer took a statement from the juror, avoiding any inquiry as to what had taken place in the course of the jury’s deliberation.

 

Held: The court followed Miah

 

Kennedy LJ:

It seems to us that we must follow R v Miah unless, as a result of the Human Rights Act 1998, it can be said no longer to represent English Law. If we follow it, we cannot have regard to anything said by the juror thus far. Nor can we initiate any further inquires because the substance of what she has said relates to what was said and done between jurors in private after they were empanelled.”

 

“But if trial by jury is properly to be preserved, some allegations can only be investigated if made before the jury’s part in the trial process has come to an end. In our judgment, the present juror’s allegations fall into that category”

 

“We therefore conclude that what was said in R v Miah [1997] does still represent English law. It follows that the inquiries already made have gone too far, and certainly no more inquiries can be authorised by this court.”

 

Comment: This case postdates the implementation of the European Convention of Human Rights into English law.

Also, it appears from Miah that the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) is prepared to go further than s 8 in order to protect the privacy of what is said by one juror to another.

Kennedy LJ thought the prohibition applied to anything said by one juror to another from the moment the jury is empanelled. The common law rule regarding jury secrecy applied by the Court of Appeal (Criminal Division) goes at least as far as s 8.

 

Randle & Pottle, R v (1991) Alliott J

 

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[Juries – role in cases – perverse findings]
D’s assisted a famous spy George Blake escape from prison and wrote a book about the escape. They argued that their actions were justified because of the severity of Blake's sentence.

Held: Acquitted by the jury.

Rantzen v Mirror Group Newspapers [1994] CA

[Juries - defamation trials - jury awards to be scrutinised by the Court of Appeal]
C, a successful television presenter and the founder and chairman of the "ChildLine", brought a libel action against "The People" newspaper in respect of articles which tended to suggest she had protected a child abuser. The jury awarded Ms Rantzen damages of £250,000.


Held: Appeal allowed. The court's power under section 8 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 to order a new trial or to substitute another award where the damages awarded by a jury were "excessive" should be consistent with article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

 

An almost unlimited discretion in a jury to award damages for defamation was not satisfactory.

Awards of damages by a jury should be more closely scrutinised by the Court of Appeal than hitherto.

 

£250,000 awarded by the jury was excessive because it was not proportionate to the damage she suffered and was reduced to £110,000.

Ras Behari Lal v King-Emperor (1933) PC

[Juries – secret deliberations - juror's disability not included]

It was alleged that one of the jurors did not understand English, which was the language in which some of the evidence was given, the addresses of counsel were made and the judge had delivered his summing up.

 

An inquiry was held, and it was reported that it was indeed the case that the juror had insufficient English to be able to follow what had been said.

 

Held: Giving the judgment of the Board, disapproving R v Thomas [1933] where the Court of Criminal Appeal had 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,

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."

Re Tourman Osman (Practice Note) [1995] Verney J

 

^[Juries – selection – deaf juror]
Mr O received a summons for jury service at the Central Criminal Court (The Old Bailey). He was severely deaf and would have required the services of a sign language interpreter.

 

HELD:  It was for the judge to determine whether Mr Osman on account of his disability would be able to follow the whole of the evidence.

 

It had long been held that it was an incurable irregularity for an independent person, such as an interpreter, to retire with the jury, even though he may take no part in the discussion

Summons discharged.

Richardson, R v [2004] CA

[Juries - disqualified juror does not on its own render conviction unsafe]
D was convicted by a jury consisting of a disqualified juror - disqualified (s1 and SchI Juries Act 1974) because of a conviction for sex offences - of six counts of rape and one count of indecent assault.

Held: A conviction was not unsafe due to the fact that a juror who was disqualified from acting did so act. There must either be some evidence that the verdict is unsafe.

Guilty

Salt, R v [1996] CA

 

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^[Juries – selection - bias]
D was convicted of burglary and assault with intent to resist arrest.

One of the jurors had been the court usher's son, who
had been called to sit as a juror when the number of jurors available was.  He had sat as a juror on five or six occasions during the previous twelve months.

Held: There was no rule of law that the selection of jurors had to be at random, but every effort should be made so far as practicable to ensure that was random.

 

As the juror was a member of the court staff he was not actually disqualified under Sch.1 of the Juries Act 1974, he could well be said to be within the spirit of that disqualification.

In this case the selection of this juror exceeded anything which could reasonably be described as random.

Not guilty

Schot & Barclay, R v [1997] CA

 

Whole case here

 

 

 

[Juries – role in cases – perverse findings]
DD were two jurors who were unable to follow the mass of evidence during a 17-day counterfeiting trial. DD refused to return a verdict at all, and refused to take part in deliberations with the other jurors. One had an objection to judging another person.

The judge said such wilful refusal amounted to contempt of court and committed DD to prison for 30 days.

Held: The judge should not have asked for details of the jury's deliberations, because s.8 (1) of the Contempt of Court Act 1981 applies to the court as well as everyone else.

 

A juror may be fined for wilfully refusing to find for either side, in disregard of the oath to "faithfully try the defendant and give a true verdict according to the evidence", but this requires proof of an intention to disrupt the course of justice.

If the evidence is legally insufficient, the judge may direct the jury to return a verdict of "not guilty". In exceptional circumstances, he may direct a verdict of "guilty", but normally the verdict is a matter for the jury alone and the judge cannot refuse to accept it even if it seems perverse.

 

Not Guilty

Sheffield Crown Court ex parte Brownlow (1980) CA

^[Juries – vetting - Attorney General's guidelines to be followed]
DD (police officers) were committed for trial for assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

 

An application on behalf of the officers was made to the judge to inform the defence whether any members of the jury panel had criminal convictions.

The judge made the order

 

The chief constable applied for an order of certiorari (a quashing order) to quash the judge's order.

 

Held: Denning LJ thought that jury vetting was unconstitutional except in some circumstances.

He further stated

"The recent uprise of "jury vetting" gave rise to so much concern that the Attorney-General in 1975 introduced guidelines. These only permit jury vetting in very rare cases and then only with the express permission of the Attorney-General."

 

Vetting allowed in this case.

Smith, R v [2003] CA

[Juries – random selection - intimidation]

D who was a black man was convicted of grievous bodily harm by an all-white jury following a violent incident in which the victim and all the witnesses had been white.

He appealed on the grounds that a fair trial in such cases requires a multi-racial jury.

 

Held:  Following the decision in Ford dismissed the appeal.

Pill LJ said that fairness is achieved by the principle of random selection and a deliberative process maximising consultation between jurors with diverse backgrounds.

 

Guilty

Sutcliffe v Pressdram [1990] CA

 

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[Juries – damages in defamation]
D, the magazine Private Eye libelled C in an article saying that that C, wife of the Yorkshire Ripper, had known about her husband's activities. The jury awarded her damages of £600,000.

Held: The award was manifestly excessive and ordered a new trial; the case was settled for £60,000.

 

In future what was needed was guidance to help juries to appreciate the real value of large sums. They could be invited to "weigh" any sum they had in mind by considering the result in terms of weekly, monthly or annual income if the money were invested or to consider what they could buy with it.

 

Comment: The editor (Ian Hislop) famously said after the first hearing "If this is justice I am a banana"

Tarrant, R v (1997) CA

 

Whole case here

 

^[Juries – random selection - intimidation]
D was charged with drugs offences and the judge, suspecting that attempts might be made to intimidate the jury, ordered that they be selected from outside the usual catchment area.

Held: A judge has no power to interfere in the random selection of the jury panel. His powers are limited to ensuring that the jurors are competent, are not disqualified, and will not suffer personal hardship that might distract them from their duties.

Conviction quashed.

Thompson, R v [1962] CA

 

[Juries – entitled to bring in their own verdict]
D was found guilty by the jury. It was discovered that a majority of jurors had been in favour of acquittal until the foreman had produced a list of the defendant's previous convictions.

Held: An appeal could not be based on this information. There was a long-established rule that no court could enquire into the details of the jury's deliberations.

Guilty

Thompson v Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis [1997] CA

 

 

Whole case here

^[Juries - guidance as to quantum of damages]

Conjoined appeals (Hsu and Thompson) both alleging excessive use of force by the police.

 

Held:  The court gave detailed guidance on the amount of damages that a jury should award, they included advice that:

  • Damages are only awarded as compensation, they are not intended to punish the defendant.

  • In a straightforward case of wrongful arrest and imprisonment the starting point is £500 for the first hour.

  • After the first hour the sum should be on a reducing scale so as to keep the damages proportionate with those payable in personal injury cases.

  • For twenty four hours £3,000.

  • For subsequent days the daily rate will be on a progressively reducing scale.

  • In the case of malicious prosecution £2,000 - £10,000.

  • Exemplary damages should be awarded only if, the compensation awarded by way of basic and aggravated damages is in the circumstances an inadequate punishment for the defendants.

  • An award of exemplary damages is in effect a windfall for the claimant and, where damages will be payable out of police funds, the sum awarded may not be available to be expended by the police in a way which would benefit the public. [This guidance would not be appropriate if the claim were to be met by insurers].

  • In the future the judge will include up a bracket for basic damages.  Aggravated damages should not normally exceed the amount of the basic damages and it would require the most exceptional circumstances for aggravated damages to be as much as twice the basic damages.

  • In the case of exemplary damages the conduct must be particularly deserving of punishment to justify an award of £25,000 and £50,000 should be regarded as the absolute maximum.

Thompson:. Damages to remain at £51,500.

Hsu:. Damages reduced to £35,000.

 

Comment: This case put paid to juries making awards for hurt feelings that would far exceed damages awarded by judges in personal injury cases where serious debilitating injuries had been sustained; it was universally approved.

 

Vaise v Delaval (1785) Lord Mansfield CJ

 

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[Juries – entitled to bring in their own verdict]
D sought to set aside a jury's verdict in favour of the claimant. Two jurors claimed that the jury had resolved the case by tossing a coin.

Held: The judge said he could not receive any such evidence from a juror: the verdict could not be impugned unless there was some external evidence of misconduct (e.g. from someone who had seen it through a window).
The court cannot receive an affidavit from a juror as to the nature of the juror's deliberations.


The rationale that was given was that this was to protect them against self-incrimination for what Lord Mansfield described as a very high misdemeanour. So the evidence had to come from some other source.

 

Vickers, R v (1975) CA

 

[Juries – entitled to bring in their own verdict]
D a drug trafficker pleaded guilty when the judge ruled that the admitted facts would be conclusive evidence of D's guilt.

Held: It is only in an exceptional case that the judge is able to direct a jury to convict upon agreed or admitted facts, even where any reasonable jury would be certain to convict.

 

Guilty

Ward v Chief Constable of the West Midlands (1997) CA

 

Whole case here

 

^[Juries – role in civil trials – to determine facts]
D, the police arrested C for a public disorder offence. His action was for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. C’s claim failed.

Held: The judge had been wrong to leave to the jury questions of law such as the nature of "offensive conduct" or what might constitute "reasonable suspicion". The jury's role in civil trials is to determine matters of fact.

Appeal allowed, new trial ordered.

Ward v James [1965] CA

 

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^[Tort – remedies - not intended to punish - quantum not affected by degree of fault]
C’s injuries resulted in quadriplegia when the car in which he was a passenger (in Germany) was involved in an accident.

Held: Lord Denning MR;

"It (trial by jury) has been the bulwark of our liberties too long for any of us to seek to alter it. Whenever a man is on trial for serious crime or when in a civil case a man’s honour or integrity is at stake... then trial by jury has no equal."

 

Up to the year 1854 all civil cases in the courts of common law were tried by juries. There was no other mode of trial available. Since 1854 trial by jury in civil cases has gradually lessened.

 

In personal injury cases trial by jury has given way to trial by judge alone unless the case is exceptional…

Because:

  1. Assessability, because personal injury damages to some extent are necessarily conventional and are based on a "tariff" known to lawyers;

  2. Uniformity, so that similar injuries would attract similar damages no matter in which court they were awarded;

  3. Predictability, to encourage the parties to settle their claim outside the court.

Willer, R v (1986) CA

 

[Juries – entitled to bring in their own verdict]
D was charged with reckless driving. He had driven on the pavement in a shopping area to 'escape from a gang of youths'.

The judge rejected his defence of necessity, so D changed his plea to guilty and the judge proceeded directly to sentencing, only (after being reminded) asking the jury foreman to declare a guilty verdict for the record.

Held: This was no mere quibble. It is of the utmost importance, to appreciate that once a person is put in charge of the jury, he can only come out of their charge by a verdict one way or the other.

 

Watkins LJ:

"We feel bound to say that it would have been for the jury to decide, if necessity could have been a defence at all in those circumstances, whether the whole incident should be regarded as one, or could properly be regarded as two separate incidents so as to enable them to say that necessity applied in one instance but not in the other. For that reason alone the course adopted by the assistance recorder was we think seriously at fault."

 

Not guilty

Also here

 

Wiltshire v Barrett
[1966] CA

^[Juries - comments by judges]

C's car having been overtaken and stopped on the road by the police at 10.45 pm, defendant police constable arrested C on suspicion of being under the influence of drink and unfit to drive.

The police doctor came to the conclusion that at that time plaintiff was not unfit to drive and he was released.

C sued for false imprisonment following his wrongful arrest.

Held: His action failed.

Lord Denning said:

"We all know how merciful some juries are to drivers who have been drinking. As often as not they acquit them. The jurors are inclined to say to themselves: “There but for the grace of God go I.” "

Per Salmon, LJ: as a general rule, in circumstances such as these, the jury’s verdict on the fact should be taken before the judge rules on submissions of law.

Comment: This action was before the breathalyser.  Drink driving is now a summary only offence.

 

Wilson & Sproson, R v (1995) CA

 

[Juries – selection - bias]
DD were charged with robbery and held on remand, pending their trial, at a local prison where in the kitchens they came into contact with a prison officer. The prison officer’s wife was summoned to sit as juror at D’s trial. She had previously applied to be excused jury service because of her husband's work, but had been refused.

Held: There was a real danger that this juror might consciously or unconsciously have been biased.

Not guilty

Wilson, Kronlid, Needham, Zeltna, R v (1996)

 

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[Juries – role in cases – perverse findings]
Four women caused £1½m worth of damage to a Hawk fighter jet. Their defence was that the jet was to be sold to Indonesia, where it would be used against the people fighting for independence in East Timor: their action was thus the prevention of the greater crime of genocide.

Held: They were acquitted by a jury at Liverpool Crown Court.

Young, R v [1995] CA

 

Red Triangle indicates "Must Know" material

 

[Juries – secrecy of deliberations – does not include overnight]
D committed two murders. During an overnight stay at a hotel, four of the jurors had apparently contacted one of D's alleged victims using an ouija board, and had obtained information that lead to D's conviction.

 

D was convicted by unanimous decisions on both counts.

 

One of the jurors consulted a solicitor and provided a statement.

 

Held: The statutory prohibition on inquiries into the jury's deliberations applied even to the Court of Appeal, but did not apply to events that occurred during the overnight break in their deliberations.

The Court of Appeal ordered affidavits to be taken from each of the jurors and the two bailiffs who were looking after them as to what, if anything, happened at the hotel. But it was made clear that they were not to "breach" section 8 of the 1981 Act by trespassing on what happened during the jury's deliberations afterwards when they were in their retiring room

 

Lord Taylor of Gosforth CJ:

"We concluded having heard all the arguments that we were entitled to inquire into what happened at the hotel but not as to what happened thereafter in the jury room. Accordingly we ordered that affidavits should be taken from each of the 12 jurors and from the two bailiffs looking after them at the hotel. We asked the Treasury Solicitor to take charge of the inquiry in conjunction with a senior police officer of at least the rank of chief inspector. We required the affidavits to cover what if anything happened at the hotel, but not to breach section 8 of the Act of 1981 by trespassing on what happened during the jury's deliberations in their retiring room"

"Having considered all the circumstances, we concluded there was a real danger that what occurred during this misguided ouija session may have influenced some jurors and may thereby have prejudiced the appellant. For those reasons we allowed the appeal but ordered a retrial."
Appeal allowed new trial ordered, guilty.

 

The prohibition placed on the Court of Appeal was held to be wrong in Connor (and Rollock) and Mirza, R v (Conjoined Appeals) [2004] HL

 

 

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