Diminished Responsibility Manslaughter

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Rhian Nicole Mason
Homicide Act 1957 Section 2
This can only be a defence if the defendant:
Is suffering from an abnormality of the mind
Act was caused by arrested or retarded development of the mind or an inherent cause of
disease or injury
If the abnormality of the mind substantially impaired their mental responsibility for the
Medical conditions can be considered abnormality of the mind, examples of these are:
Psychotic Disorders
Clinical Depression
Postnatal Depression
Premenstrual Tension
Battered Wife Syndrome
Postnatal Depression: Reynolds (1988) ­ young mother killed her own mother
Premenstrual Tension: English (1981) ­ Evidence needs to prove it was the cause
Battered Wife Syndrome: Ahluwalia (1992) ­ Waited until her husband fell asleep
Causes of abnormality of the mind include:
Abnormal development of mind
Inherent cause ­ not external factures such as alcohol
Induced by disease or injury
Abnormal development of mind: Byrne (1960) ­ sexual psychopath
Induced by disease: Skelton (1994), Hampson (1999) ­ depression killed wife with hammer,
Lawson (2001)
Induced by injury: Luc They Thuan (2001) ­ Head injury resulting in reduced power of selfcontrol
Medical evidence must be required to support the claim to the cause of diminished responsibility.

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Rhian Nicole Mason
Substantial Impairment
S2 of the Homicide Act states the defendant's abnormality of mind must be such that it
"substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his actions/omissions"
The extent to which the abnormality of mind is for the jury to decide
Tandy (1989) ­ Strangled her 11 year old daughter to death after drinking a bottle of vodka cold
not claim diminished responsibility and was convicted for murder.…read more


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