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18 Cards in this Set

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Insanity Problem 1 - Definition

Originating from the M'Naughton Rules from 1843, where knowledge of medical diseases was very limited. More is known today about mental disorders therefore a more modern definition should be used. The current definition is a legal one not a medical one.
Insanity Problem 2 - Irresistible Impulses
People who suffer from irresistible impulses, who are psychopaths do not fall within the M'Naughten Rules as they know that what they are doing is wrong. However they cannot prevent their actions and it is due to a recognised medical disorder.
Insanity Problem 3 - Illnesses
Secondly those suffering from physical illness such as diabetes, brain tumours (Kemp) and considered legally insane, even sleepwalkers come within this definition.
Insanity Problem 4 - Diabetes
Another criticism is the illogical distinction between diabetes. It is not logical that the D in R v Quick could plead automatism for being hypoglycaemic at the time of the offence, hence get a complete acquittal. Whereas the D in R v Hennessey who was hyperglycaemic was found guilty by virtue of insanity, and the judge had to impose an order onto him.
Insanity Problem 5 - Being aware of Illegal Nature
If the D is aware that what they are doing is legally wrong the cannot plead insanity. The D in Windle suffered from a mental illness however could not plead insanity due to saying "I suppose they will hang me for this". Showing he knew the nature of his actions. COA obligated to follow decision from Windle in Johnson, where D suffered from paranoid schizophrenia suffered from hallucinations and stabbed neighbour. Knew his actions were wrong so did not fall under M'Naughen Rule.
Insanity Problem 6 - Language
The word "insanity" is unpopular and carries a social stigma, and is bad to apply to people with full mental disorders, insulting to those who suffer from diabetes and epilepsy.
Insanity Problem 7 - Burden of Proof
D in case holds the burden of proof could be seen as breach of Article 6 of the European convention of Human Rights, stating the D is innocent until proven guilty.
Insanity Reform 1 - irresistible impulses

In 1953 the Royal Commission on Capital Punishment suggested that the M'Naughten rules should be extended to those D who suffered irresistible impulses, so that they could be declared legally insane. "was incapable from preventing himself from committing the offence."

However the gov did not go with this defence but added the partial defence of diminished responsibility to murder instead.

Insanity Reform 2 - Language
In 1975 the Butler committee suggested that the verdict be changed from "insanity" to not guilty on "evidence of mental disorder".
Insanity Reform 3 - Dealing with the mentally ill
In 1991 the ways in which a judge can deal with a person found guilty by reason of insanity has improved, originating form the Criminal Procedure Act they can now make an hospital order, supervision order or n absolute discharge.
Insanity Reform 4 - language
In 2013 the Law Commission published a report with a discussion paper on the laws of insanity and Automatism, their main points include, that the word "insanity" should no longer be used, but "not guilty by reason of recognised medical condition". And this would only be returned if the D has and illness or learning diability that is so serious that they could not prevent committing the crime incl irresistible impulses.
Insanity Reform 5 - no Trail
Also that some cases could be dealt with without a trial, which would not take place if everyone agreed on a verdict. Not guilty by reason of recognised medical condition. The person would have a lawyer with them and the judge would write down what was said.
Evaluation of Intoxication - intro
Alcohol and drugs are associated with up to 70% of homicides and serious assaults and 50% of fights containing assault in the home. As a result the law I reluctant to accept the defence of intoxication, which has become more of a matter of public policy. Rather than the development of legal reasoning.
Intoxication Problem 1 - Coincidence rule
The decision in DPP v Majewski contradicts the coincidence rule that the AR and MR of a crime must occur at the same time. The MR of a basic intent offence involving intoxication is said to occur when the D is reckless in becoming intoxicated. However the decision to drink may have been way before the D commits the AR.
Intoxication Problem 1 - Coincidence rule (2)
R v O'Grady, the D had fallen asleep and committed the act of hitting his friend hours later. He took a general risk of doing something stupid when he was reckless in becoming intoxicated. At the time of drinking he had no idea that he would commit an offence. Where recklessness is sufficient for the MR it has to be proven that the D knew there was a risk of a specific intent offence occurring.
Intoxication Problem 2 - no lesser offence
Some specific intent offences has no lesser offence showing that some intoxicated defendants can still be found guilty whilst others don't. Some who successfully pleads intoxication to murder will be found guilty of manslaughter, whereas for the crime of theft there is no lesser offence.
Intoxication Problem 3 - involuntarily intoxicated.
The area of law in need of reform is where the d's inhibitions have been broken down by being involuntarily intoxicated. The decision in R v Kingston said that the D would be guilty if he could not form the necessary MR. This ignores that the D was not to blame for his intoxication.
Intoxication Problem 4 - Intoxicated mistake
The law on intoxicated mistake in relation to self defence found in the CJA 2009 could be seen as unfair tot he D and is in need of reform. If the D honestly but drunkenly makes a mistake about the nature of a threat in self defence it would be unjust to not allow him that mistake. However it is a matter of public policy to balance the rights of the D against those of the V.