Insanity 1

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  • Insanity
    • What?
      • 'not guilty by reason of insanity'
      • S.2 of the Trial of Lunatics Act 1883
      • Relevant at 3 points:
        • 2. Unfitness to Plead
          • Failure to...
            • Instruct solicitors and counsel
            • Exercise his right to challenge jurors
            • Follow the course of proceedings
            • Decide whether to plead guilty or not
            • Give evidence in his own defence
            • Understand charged
          • Legal Framework: S.4 Criminal Procedure Act 1964
            • As amended by Criminal Procedure Act 1991 AND Domestic Violence and Victims Act 2004
          • If accused is too unfit, S4 provides for determination of the fitness to plead of the accused
            • "trial of the facts"
            • Determines whether the accused committed the acts they are being charged of
            • If guilty, offences disposals include hospital order, supervision order, order for absolute discharge
        • 1. Insanity Before Trial
          • Where the offender is in custody but is obviously insane
            • Home Secretary has the power to detain immediately in a mental hospital
              • Confirmation from 2 Drs of the offender's state of mind is required
        • 3. Insanity at the Time of the Offence
          • Issue for the M'Naghten Rules
            • Every man presumed sane until the contrary can be proved
            • Where plea of insanity succeeds, D found not guilty by reason of insanity
  • Criticisms of Unfitness to Plead
    • Too high threshold for finding of unfitness are extremely rare
    • Capacity to understand proceedings is separate in law from whether he/she is capable of sound decision making
    • Results in exlcusion


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