Diminished Responsibility and As Amended by CJA 09

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Diminished Responsibility: S.2 of the Homicide Act 1957

Partial Defence to Murder.

Definition: "Where a person kills or is the party killing shall not be convicted of murder if he/she was suffering from such abnormality of mind  arising from a retarded or arrested development of mind or inherent causes as to substantially impair his mental responsibility for his acts or omissions."

The main elements are;

►Abnormality of mind

► Arising from an arrested or retarded development of mind- inherent causes

► Substancially impair his mental responsibility

1) Abnormality of Mind:  

"A State of Mind so different from that an ordinary person would term it as abnormal"

R V Bryne: (D suffering from perverted desires; strangled and mutilated woman's body) In this case it was held that he was guilty of manslaughter as medical evidence presented shows that he found it impossible to control his desires.

"The Court of Appeal held that abnormality of Mind was wide enough to cover:

  • Perception of physical acts and matters
  • The ability to form a rational judgement of what is right or wrong.

The ability to exercise will power to control physical acts in accordance with rational judgement. 

R v Seers: (D. Suffering from chronic reactive depression)- held that comparisons with insanity should be avoided.

 Dim Reps covers mental conditions.

- Depressive Illness

- Paranoia


- Pre- Menstrual Tension 

- Battered Woman Syndrome.

2) S.2 (1): Causes of abnormality of mind:

- A condition of arrested or retarded development of mind

-An inherent Cause 

-Induced by any disease

-Induced by any injury

TOTAL EXTERNAL FACTOR!: This could be the consumption of alcohol, drugs or…


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