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NCJ Number: 157480 Find in a Library
Title: Brain, Mind and Behaviour Revisited
Journal: Journal of Forensic Psychiatry  Volume:5  Issue:2  Dated:(September 1994)  Pages:232-236
Author(s): A Buchanan
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 5
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United Kingdom
Annotation: This paper argues against Fenwick's view, presented in the November 1993 British Journal of Psychiatry in an analysis of criminal intent, that recognition of a biological basis for schizophrenia would allow violent offenders with the disease to walk free from court.
Abstract: Fenwick also argued that recent advances in neuropsychiatry and, in particular, in neuroimaging, would render obsolete much of the criminal law in that descriptions of brain pathology would enable the courts to apportion blame in a more precise manner than has been possible before. However, analyzing mental states defenses on the basis of mens rea is of doubtful usefulness due to the variations in the term's meanings over the years and because not everyone agrees that psychiatric defenses operate by addressing mens rea at all. In addition, the existence of an observable brain condition would not eliminate the role of mens rea in court. Medical evidence will continue to be relevant, not to determine whether the defendant was responsible but to indicate whether the defendant suffered from a disorder that impaired the ability to choose. 18 references and list of 6 law reports
Main Term(s): Foreign courts
Index Term(s): Criminology; Foreign offenders; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Insanity defense; Mental disorders; Psychological evaluation
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