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NCJ Number: 118522 Find in a Library
Title: Craziness and Codification: Revising the Automatism and Insanity Defences (From Criminal Law and Justice: Essays from the W.G. Hart Workshop, 1986, P 109-121, 1987, I H Dennis, ed. -- See NCJ-118520)
Author(s): R D Mackay
Date Published: 1987
Page Count: 13
Sponsoring Agency: Sweet and Maxwell
London, NW3 3PF, England
Sale Source: Sweet and Maxwell
Marketing Director
100 Ave. Road
London, NW3 3PF,
United Kingdom
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: The provisions in the proposed British criminal code for the insanity defense is examined in view of changes that have taken place in the United States since the Hinckley case and of differences in the British and American approaches.
Abstract: In the United States the use of the insanity plea has been a source of major criticism, but in England no recent cause has been shown for an abolition of the insanity defense. In fact, the main dissatisfaction results from the infrequent use of the defense and from the consequences if such a plea should succeed. The recent Butler Report would make the insanity defense available in cases in which the accused is suffering from severe mental illness that is not necessarily connected with the offense. Under the proposed special verdict, Peter Sutcliffe, the "Yorkshire Ripper," would probably have been acquitted of murder. Whether a special verdict in such a case is publicly acceptable is doubtful. The draft criminal code also poses difficulty in its treatment of diabetic cases in a disorder would be inappropriately labeled as a mental disorder. An alternative approach to a special verdict would be to find the accused not guilty on account of an aberration of normal mental functioning present at the time of the commission of the alleged offense. This approach could be refined and made readily comprehensible to the jury, while allowing special verdicts only if a fundamental lack of mental functioning occurred. Notes.
Main Term(s): Insanity defense
Index Term(s): Criminal codes; Diminished capacity defense; Great Britain/United Kingdom; US/foreign comparisons
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