Murder defences evaluation

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Diminished Responsability

Burden of proof

One of the main problems that lie in the defence of DR is the fact that the burden of proof here lies with the defendant; it is down to him to prove that he was suffering from a diminished responsibility whilst committing the offence. In the majority of other defences, the defence need merely raise the point, and it would be down to the prosecution to disprove it. However, those pleading DR are at a disadvantage with those pleading LoC. This requirement for the defence to prove it could consequently be a breech of Art 6(2) of the European Convention on Human Rights; "everyone charged with a criminal offence shall be presumed to be innocent until proven guilty".

Developmental immaturity

The law commission recommended that "developmental immaturity" in those under 18 be included within the defence of diminished responsibility; there is evidence to suggest that the pre-frontal lobes of the brain, of which play an important part in the development of self…


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