Defences

All of the defences apart from Duress

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Rhian Nicole Mason
The M'Naughten (1843) case defined the insanity defence and it is broken down into:
Defect of reason
Disease of the mind
Not knowing the nature of the act
Not knowing that the act was wrong
It is basically the internal causes of loss or control and/or consciousness, it is only relevant at the
time of the offence and if the defendant stands trial. The burden of proof lies with the defendant
unless the prosecution wants to introduce it. A successful defence of insanity results in a special
verdict of not guilty.
Defect of Reason
This is where the defendant must be unable to reason at the time of the offence, this is based on
the inability to use powers of reason rather than failing to use them.
Clark (1972) ­ Defendant shoplifting, claimed insanity of absentmindedness due to depression,
judge ruled not insanity but not guilty either.
Any cases pleading insanity due to drink or drugs fails immediately .
Disease of the Mind
This is a legal not a medical definition; it must be a physical disease which is permeant or
temporary.
Kemp (1957) arteriosclerosis ­ temporary unconsciousness, attacked wife with hammer and
killed her, found guilty but insane ­ old special verdict.
Bratty vs AG for NI (1963) ­ epilepsy strangled girlfriend with tights ­ guilty but insane
Burges (1991) ­ sleepwalking smashed bottle over woman's head
Sullivan (1984) ­ killed elderly neighbour during epileptic fit, found guilty during because pleaded
wrong defence
Quick (1973) ­ Hypoglycaemic, nurse attack patient, automatism not insanity
Hennessy (1989) ­ Hyperglycaemic, took car without consent + no licence, insanity not
automatism
Not knowing the nature of the act
Did not know what he was doing, did not appreciate the consequences for the act, did not
appreciate the circumstances in which he was acting, all means no mens rea.
Not knowing the act was wrong

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Rhian Nicole Mason
Windle (1952) ­ legally wrong but not morally wrong ­ killed insane wife who was threatening
suicide "I suppose they'll hang me for this" knew it was legally wrong, not insanity guilty.
Defined in Bratty Vs AG for NI (1963) ­ An act done by the muscles without any control by the
mind such as a spasm, reflex action or a convulsion, or an act done by a person who is not
conscious of what they are doing.…read more

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Rhian Nicole Mason
Specific or Basic Intent
Specific is intent only ­ intending to be unlawful e.g. murder
Basic includes recklessness ­ assault and criminal damage
Voluntary Intoxication
Consuming alcohol/ drugs of you own free will, can only claim defence for specific intent crimes
e.g.…read more

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Rhian Nicole Mason
Consent is the idea that someone agreed to having something done to them, for example boxing
or a tattoo. It is split into: real, implied, level of injury and, Not a defence for murder.
Real Consent
This is where the victim specifically said and agreed to the act in question, cases for this are more
where the defendant has deceived the victim.…read more

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Rhian Nicole Mason
Pretty (2001) ­ woman had incurable disease; husband wanted to help end her life with dignity
but court ruled he could not and would face a prison sentence.
This defence is found under section 76 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008, there are
two scenarios ­ one which is the common law defence of self defence, or prevention of crime
under Section 3 of the Criminal Law Act.…read more

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Rhian Nicole Mason
A mistaken belief caused by voluntary intoxication cannot be relied upon as a defence.
O'Grady (1987) ­ Hit friend over the head whilst drink due to believing he was going to kill him,
the defence of selfdefence failed.…read more

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