Diminished Responsibility

Diminished Responsibility summary 

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  • Created on: 04-01-11 20:16
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D may also be able to use the partial defence of diminished responsibility. For this we must show at
the time of the killing D was suffering from an abnormality of mind that substantially affected his
responsibility for the killing. Such a condition could be classed as evidence of an abnormal mind as the
Homicide Act states that an abnormal mind is "a mind that a normal person thinks is abnormal". The
abnormality of mind can include all the mind's activities not just those of the brain (Byrne), and does
not have to be connected with madness for example depression in Seers.
The abnormality of mind must come from one of three sources. These are an arrested or retarded
development of mind, an inherent cause or from disease or injury. Use of alcohol or drugs on a casual
basis is not enough evidence of an abnormality of mind (Fenton). However if D is suffering from an
Alcohol or drugs dependency syndrome it can be evidence of an abnormality of mind (Tandy).
The abnormality of mind must also be the substantial cause of the D's killing. Here substantial is said
to mean "not total nor does it mean more than trivial or minimal" (Lloyd). In Dietschmann, D was drunk
when he killed, but it was the depression he was suffering from at the time which was considered
the substantial cause of his killing. Such a decision would be left to the jury to decide. (Gittens).

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