Criticisms of Defences

  • Intro
  • Insanity developed from M'Naghten
  • Defect of reason from a disease of the mind that causes the D to not understand the nature and quality, not understand that what he did was illegal
  • Law Commission Insanity and Automatism 2013

Definition of Insanity

  • Legal definition not medical
  • Words like defect of reason and disease of the mind have no relevance to doctors
  • People can be deemed insane that we would not reasonably see as insane
  • Diabetes - Hennessy
  • Hardened arteries - Kemp
  • Butler Committee suggested not guilty by reason of medical disorder

Burden and Standard

  • There is a reversal from the normal BAS
  • Goes against article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights
  • D is innocent until proven guilty
  • Butler Committee - jury should not have to decide insanity

Legally insane without mental illness

  • Diabetics - Hennessy
  • Hardened Arteries - Kemp
  • Sleepwalkers - Thomas
  • suggests these people are a danger to the public
  • Most can control their illness with medication
  • Law may not need to intervene

Nature and Quality

  • Sutcliffe
  • Windle
  • Byrne
  • Those who the defence is aimed at are unable to use it

Position of Diabetics

  • Sullivan - insanity
  • Quick - Automatism
  • Quick got a complete defence whereas Hennessy got a hospital order for insanity

Social Stigma

  • Bad enough labelling mental disorders as insane
  • Inappropriate to name diabetics etc this way
  • Only 30 pleas a year
  • Large


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