"If it possible that such a practice as that which has taken place in the present instance should be allowed to pass without a remedy, trial by jury itself, instead of being a security to persons who are accused, will be a delusion, a mockery and a snare."

English judge Thomas Denman, 1844

Denman  (1779-1854), spoke thus of trial by jury and the sedition conviction in the 1844 case Daniel O'Connell v The Queen 11 Clarke and Finelly 351.

Denman said these words when the jury conviction against the Irish rebel rouser was appealed to the House of Lords.

Denman, like O'Connell's lawyers, was outraged that the jury selection in the Ireland court had allowed the Crown to systematically object to Catholics for jury duty, thus ensuring that the jury was rigged.

Denman's words barely carried the day but they remained a rally cry against future attempts to jury-rig.

Denman later told his son that he regretted the words as they were not judicial; too outspoken for a judge.


  • Bent, S., Short Sayings of Great Men (Boston: James R. Osgood & Company, 1882), page 18.
  • Duhaime, Lloyd, On The Origin of Law


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