Diminished Responsibility

Basic overview of D.R.

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  • Created by: Jess
  • Created on: 26-01-11 21:49


Diminished Responsibility is a defence laid out in the Homicide Act 1957 only available for murder. The three main principles are:

1. Abnormality of Mind

2. Cause of the abnormality

3. Substantial impairment.

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1. Abnormality of Mind

Described in Byrne as:

"covering all activities of the mind, including the ability to exercise will power and the capacity to make rational judgements."

Jury decide if there is an abnormality of mind through medical evidence, but are not bound to accept this.

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Cause of the Abnormality

-> Arrested/Retarded Development

-> An inherent cause

-> Disease or injury


- Alcoholism or drug addiction will count - Tandy

- D must prove he acted due to abnormality rather than drugs - Gittens

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Substantial Impairment

The abnormality must be the substantial cause of the killing (Dietchmann)

Byrne said - "almost irresistible impulses" will count.

Any evidence of planning means D may not have had a diminished responsibility - Campbell


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